All public buses in Singapore are wheelchair accessible starting from Tuesday, 1 December 2020. This follows the early retirement of the last few non-wheelchair accessible buses in Singapore, and in line with the authorities’ goals of having a 100% Wheelchair-Accessible Bus Fleet by 2020.
The news was announced over LTA’s social media channels in a video on “Promoting Inclusivity on Public Transport”.
The last day of revenue service for these bus models was as follows:
- SBS Transit – Volvo B10TL (PSV / CDGE)
Last deployed on 11 Nov 2020 – Service 125
- SMRT Buses – Mercedes-Benz O405G (Hispano Habit)
Last deployed on 30 Nov 2020 – Services 169, 903 & 912M
TIB1242U, TIB1243S, TIB1244P, TIB1245L, TIB1247G
Based on our records, the last ever non-WAB on revenue service was TIB1242U on Bus Service 169, departing Ang Mo Kio Bus Interchange at 1827hrs and arriving Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange at 1948hrs.
100% Barrier-Free by 2020
Wheelchair buses were first introduced in 2006, through SBS Transit’s bulk order of 200 Volvo B9TL CDGE buses. Since then, all public buses procured by SBS Transit and SMRT were wheelchair-accessible buses (WAB). SMRT’s first wheelchair-accessible bus model was the Mercedes-Benz OC500LE, which entered service in 2008.
The goal of having a 100% Wheelchair-Accessible Bus (WAB) Fleet by 2020 was first announced during the Committee of Supply Debate in March 2018. Back then, all MRT stations and bus interchanges were already barrier-free, and 96% of public buses were wheelchair accessible. This would increase to 100% by 2020 through the gradual phasing out of older non-wheelchair-accessible buses.
Last few standing
The statutory lifespan of public buses in Singapore is set at 17 years. This push for a full WAB fleet by 2020 resulted in the early retirement of the last few non-wheelchair-accessible buses, which remained in operation up till November 2020, despite having several more months of statutory lifespan remaining.
|Bus||Model||Original Registration Date||Last day of revenue service||Useful Lifespan (Registration date till 30 Nov 2020, both dates inclusive)||Lifespan
(% of 17-year statutory lifespan)
|SBS9889U||Volvo B10TL (PSV / CDGE)||1 Mar 2005||11 Nov 2020||15 years 9 months||92.73%|
|TIB1242U||Mercedes-Benz O405G (Hispano Habit)||3 Jan 2004||30 Nov 2020||16 years, 10 months, 28 days||99.55%|
|TIB1243S||30 Nov 2020|
|TIB1245L||4 Mar 2004||Unknown||16 years, 8 months, 27 days||98.57%|
|TIB1247G||30 Nov 2020|
Volvo B10TL (PSV / CDGE):
As the last ever non-WAB to be registered in Singapore, SBS9889U had 15 more months of useful lifespan when it was taken off the roads in November 2020 (original de-registration date: 28 February 2022). Reliability issues plagued SBS9889U during the final months of its lifespan with frequent breakdowns, and the bus was last deployed on 11 November 2020 on Bus Service 125, where it was withdrawn from service at midday and towed back to the depot.
Mercedes-Benz O405G (Hispano Habit):
As for the Mercedes-Benz O405G, most units remained in good working order up till their lifespan expiry date, and all five surviving units (TIB1242U, TIB1243S, TIB1244P, TIB1245L, TIB1247G) were on the roads in November 2020.
On the final day before the 100% WAB implementation date of 1 December 2020 (i.e. 30 November 2020), only three units were deployed (TIB1242U, TIB1243S and TIB1247G). Buses were deployed to Services 169, 903 & 912M as follows:
- TIB1242U: Service 169
- TIB1243S: Service 912M (AM), Service 903 (PM)
- TIB1247G: Service 903
SBS9889U, a Volvo B10TL bus, was the last model of non-WAB bus to be procured by SBS Transit, with 52 units procured. Most were bodied by Volgren, with the exception of SBS9889U, which was fitted with a prototype bodywork developed locally by ComfortDelgro Engineering (the engineering branch of Comfort DelGro, SBS Transit’s parent company). The design and expertise gained from the prototype bodywork were to be a platform for the later CDGE-bodied Volvo B9TLs, which would also be fully assembled in Singapore.
Main Article: Volvo B10TL (PSV / CDGE)
The Mercedes-Benz O405G (Hispano Habit) was the last model of non-WAB articulated bus to be procured by SMRT’s predecessor, Trans-Island Bus Services (TIBS). It was also the fourth and final variant of the Mercedes-Benz O405G articulated bus to enter service with TIBS, with three different bodywork variants preceding this batch. All variants were bodied by Spanish coachbuilder Hispano Carrocera S.A.
The ‘Habit’ city bus bodywork was designed by renowned Italian design firm Pininfarina. 208 buses of this type were procured by TIBS.
Main Article: Mercedes-Benz O405G (Hispano Habit)