Farewell, Mercedes-Benz O405G Volgren Bendy Buses. The fourth generation of Mercedes-Benz O405G articulated buses acquired by then Trans-Island Bus Services (TIBS) has been fully retired. The last day of operations was 04 July 2019, operating on SMRT Bus Service 903.*
Trans-Island Bus Services was the first bus operator to use bendy buses in Singapore. A total of 315 Mercedes-Benz O405G Buses were acquired by TIBS between 1994 and 2005, with the first unit, TIB838H, completely-built-up from the Hispano plant in Spain and flown in by a cargo plane.
This batch of buses was designed by Volgren of Australia, bearing an exterior design based on the Volgren CR221 product. A demonstrator unit, TIB1024H, was brought in 2000, and another 20 units, TIB1178Y – TIB1197S, were subsequently brought in between 2001 and 2002. Local bus enthusiasts groups often nickname the bus ‘Volgren Bendy‘ or ‘Volgren G‘, differentiating the bus from the other bendy buses by its unique bodywork.
Unique to this bus model is a pair of side-facing seats in the rear cabin, which is not found in any other batch of Mercedes-Benz O405G buses. 10 units of this batch also feature a lower window-line and thus larger windows.
|Basic Technical Specifications
|Mercedes-Benz OM 447 hLA engine
Inline 6-cylinder turbocharged, 11967 cc, Euro II
Power/Torque rating of 299 hp (220 kW) @ 2200 rpm / 1250 Nm @ 1000 – 1300 rpm
|TIB1178Y – TIB1187X
ZF Ecomat 4HP 590 gearbox, four-speed automatic
TIB1024H, TIB1188T – TIB1197S
Voith DIWA 863.3 gearbox, three-speed automatic
|Volgren CR221 Bodywork
Chassis produced in Germany. Bodywork supplied by Volgren of Australia. Assembled in Malaysia by Supportrans.
|Transit Media TwinVision LeDot Electronic Display Signage (EDS)
Green Flip-dot Matrix design
|Mobitec MobiLED Electronic Display Signage (EDS)
Orange LED Matrix design
|SMC Transit doors
|Licensed capacity of 59 seating + 73 standing = 132 total
Volgren also built small batches of TIBS’ buses, including the Hino HS3KRKK, Dennis Lance and Mercedes-Benz O405, featuring an identical exterior bodywork design.
Most of these bendy buses spent their 17-year lifespan based in Woodlands Bus Depot, and were mostly deployed on Feeder and Intratown Bus Services. Some of these buses have been deployed on the same service for 17 years!
Like other Trans-Island buses, these buses were originally equipped with green flip-dot displays. One particular bus, TIB1191H, was known to be the last bus in SMRT’s fleet to retain the original green flip-dot display. This was subsequently phased out and replaced by Mobitec displays before 2015.
Unlike previous bus models, it is a pity that none of these buses received a lifespan extension. The Land Transport Authority intends to have a full wheelchair-accessible bus fleet by 2020, as re-iterated in its Land Transport Master Plan 2040. As such, all non-wheelchair-accessible bus models expected to retire early by the end of this year, including the remaining Mercedes-Benz O405G (Hispano Habit), Volvo B10TL and Volvo B10BLE.
Bendy buses have since been succeeded by double-decker buses. Only 40 MAN A24 Bendy Buses will remain in Singapore after all Mercedes-Benz O405G buses are retired.
Thank you for serving us, Volgren Bendies!
*TIB1195Y was the last Mercedes-Benz O405G Volgren to operate on service. Its last trip was on 05 July 2019, departing Woodlands Interchange at 0040hrs.