Farewell, SBS Transit Volvo B10M Buses

Farewell, SBS Transit Volvo B10M buses. The final batch of SBS Transit’s Volvo B10M Buses, the Volvo B10M-60 (Mark IV) — Duple Metsec DM3500 body, has been retired. The last day of operations was Saturday, 22 December 2018.

The DM3500-bodied batch of buses, registered as SBS2689B – SBS2838M, has been operating since 1997. In 1996, Singapore Bus Services (SBS) purchased this final batch of 150 Volvo B10M Mark IV buses. Complete Knock-Down Kits were supplied by Duple Metsec and the buses were assembled locally by SBS Engineering Pte Ltd.

These buses represent the last of a previous era – high-floor buses with two steps at the entrance and exit. All buses procured later by SBS Transit are either low-entry or fully low-floor, allowing for easy boarding and alighting. They were also popular for their high seating capacity – 46 seats, as compared to 35 seats on a Mercedes-Benz Citaro today.

The history of Singapore’s Volvo B10M buses goes all the way back to 1984. A double-deck Volvo B10MD was registered as SBS4961B in 1984, while the first single-deck Volvo B10M was registered as SBS9C in 1986.

A mix of both non-airconditioned and air-conditioned 200 Volvo B10M Mark 2 buses, bodied by Walter Alexander and Duple Metsec, were brought in 1988. This was followed by 300 Volvo B10M Mark 3 buses bodied by Duple Metsec, the largest purchase of B10M buses made by SBS.

PSV-bodied Volvo B10M Mark 4 buses were brought in by SBS Leisure in 1994, which originally operated on Sentosa Bus Routes. 10 of these buses were later converted back to service on public bus routes.

In 1995, 115 Duple Metsec bodied and 200 Walter Alexander Strider bodied Volvo B10M Mark 4 buses were brought in. This is accompanied by the 14.5 metre ‘Superlong’ demonstrator registered as SBS997A, as well as SBS first articulated bus, a 19-metre long Volvo B10MA registered as SBS998Y.

In 1997, this final batch of 150 DM3500-bodied Volvo B10M Mark IV buses was brought in.

75 buses of this batch were SPAD-registered in 2011 to replace the retiring Volvo B10M MkIII buses on cross-border routes. They have since been replaced by SPAD-registered Scania K230UBs in 2014.

Three of these buses received complete interior makeovers. These ‘concept buses’ were fully refurbished with special interior layouts as part of long-term advertising. SBS2696E was converted into Nokia Music Mobile buses, with side facing seats, armchairs and a mock-up bar (SBS2779A and SBS2812L only bore the advert). SBS2837R was converted into a HP concept bus featuring seats with headrests, and various HP products displayed in the interior. In addition, SBS2754X had out-swinging plug doors for the exit doors, instead of the traditional in-swinging leaf doors. SBS2779A was equipped with an orange Transit Media Electronic Display Signage (EDS), which was removed sometime in 2010.

While the buses were expected to retire earlier in Christmas 2017, 30 units of this bus model were granted a one-year lifespan extension. They last operated on Bus Services 32, 103, 156, 166 and 175 on 22 December 2018.

In the upcoming years, SBS Transit’s Volvo B10TL, Volvo B10BLE and SMRT’s Mercedes-Benz O405G buses will bite the dust as well, marking the end of non-wheelchair accessible buses.

Further reading:

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