Fleet Restrictions

Route limitations, sometimes called fleet restrictions, usually refer to bus services that have regulations on fleet deployments, such as vehicle length, vehicle height, or various environmental factors. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) may also set restrictions on the buses deployed on certain bus routes by the public bus operators.


Physical Limitations

Bus routes in Singapore are subject to physical limitations of road infrastructure. Some roads have various design limitations that would be difficult or impossible for larger buses to pass through. Hence, for safety reasons, fleet restrictions are put in place to forbid certain models of buses from being deployed on routes with limitations.

The following list is not exhaustive; nor does it reflect the most up-to-date restrictions in place, as bus operators are at liberty to add or remove such restrictions. More details are in the Disclaimer section below.

Confirmed Fleet Restrictions
Operator Service(s) Fleet Restriction Reason(s)
Central Region
SBST 63, 63A Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes along Jln Rumah Tinggi
SBST 73, 73T, 105, 159 Only single-decker buses allowed Low headroom under Braddell Flyover
SBST 120, 124, 273, 408 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow roads & roundabout in Telok Blangah Heights Estate
SBST 131, 131A, 141 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow roads within Pek Kio Estate
SBST 142, 142A Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow roads within Potong Pasir Estate
SBST 230 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes along Kim Keat Ave
SBST 238, 535 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes along Lor 8 Toa Payoh
Eastern Region
SBST
11, 158, 158A Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes along Tg Rhu Rd and Rhu Cross
GAS / SBST 15, 33, 33B, 135, 150, 155 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow roads within Joo Chiat Estate
SBST / SMRT / TTS / GAS 24, 27, 34, 34B, 36, 36A, 53, 53A, 110, 858, 858B Only single-decker and articulated buses allowed Low headroom at Changi Airport Terminals 1/2/3 Basement
SBST
29 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes along Cranwell Rd and Netheravon Rd
SBST 32, 40, 42, 135, 401 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow roads & U-turns within Kembangan / Siglap Estates
SBST 140 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes & U-turn along St. George’s Rd and St. Wilfred Rd
GAS
354 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes & 3-point turn along Jln Loyang Besar
GAS 358 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes along Pasir Ris St 41
SBST 401 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes along East Coast Pk Svc Rd
GAS 403 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes & 3-point turn along Elias Rd (between Pasir Ris Dr 3 & Pasir Ris Rd) and Pasir Ris Rd
Northern Region
SBST / SMRT 138, 138A, 926, 927 Only single-decker and articulated buses allowed Narrow lanes along Mandai Lake Rd
SBST, SMRT 160, 170, 170X, 950 Only SPAD-registered single-decker buses allowed into Malaysia Low headroom in Woodlands & Johor Bahru Checkpoints and fleet restrictions by SPAD
SBST 261 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes along Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 1
SBST 268, 268A Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes along Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 2
TTS 529, 825 Only minibuses and single-decker buses allowed Narrow roads & U-turn within Lentor Estate
SMRT 925, 925A Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow U-turn point in Kranji Resvr CP B
North-Eastern Region
SBST 317 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow roads within Serangoon Gardens Estate
Western Region
SBST 92, 92M, 560 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow roads within Mt Sinai Estate
SBST 122, 195, 195A Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes along Commonwealth Dr (northern ring)
TTS 173 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow roads within Elizabeth / Toh Tuck Estates
TTS 177 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow roads along Gombak Dr and within MINDEF CP
SBST
191 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes along Portsdown Rd and Media Circle
SBST 200, 200A Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes along Sth Buona Vista Rd
SBST / TTS
284, 284M, 532, 667, CT28 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow cul-de-sac along Clementi Ave 4
SBST 405 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes and U-turn point along Old Choa Chu Kang Rd End
TTS 945 Only single-decker and articulated buses allowed Narrow lanes along Bt Batok St 32, Bt Batok St 33 and Bt Batok St 34
SMRT
975, 975C Only single-decker and double-decker buses allowed Narrow U-turn point along Lim Chu Kang Road End for articulated buses

Unconfirmed Fleet Restrictions

The so-called ‘ban’ on various types of buses on certain bus services is subject to debate. Since fleet restrictions are part of the internal affairs of the LTA and are not publicly disclosed, it is difficult to know for sure whether a ‘ban’ exists. For example, areas like Depot Road and Upper Aljunied Road do not see the use of double-deck buses and articulated buses respectively. It is hard to know for sure whether the ‘ban’ will be lifted, as the exclusive deployment of single-deck rigid buses to various bus services plying these areas may be due to other factors (such as a lack of strong demand). As such, most fleet restrictions are ‘speculated’ based on the operating trends of various bus services.

For feeder bus routes, most routes use single-deck buses exclusively, likely due to the fact that most commuters travel short distances on these bus services. Double-deck buses are slower at loading and unloading large numbers of passengers quickly. Thus, it is more difficult to determine if high capacity double-deck and articulated buses are not deployed on feeder services due to actual route limitations or their short distances.

Prior to the full retirement of older public buses without wheelchair-friendly facilities in 2020, a wheelchair-accessible¬†bus quota for wheelchair-accessible¬†bus routes (WAB) state that a WAB route must operate with a fleet of at least 50% wheelchair-accessible buses, so wheelchair-bound passengers can get a WAB within the waiting time of two buses. Another unique fleet restriction is the cross-border fleet restriction, which demands that all buses serving on cross-border routes have to be registered with Malaysia’s Land Public Transport Commission or SPAD. These buses are retrofitted with a third brake light and carry additional documents/labels in order to meet Malaysian traffic regulations (3rd brake light is not compulsory in Singapore). These SPAD-registered buses can serve on any bus route in Singapore, but only SPAD-registered buses can be deployed on cross-border routes.

Operator Service(s) Fleet Restrictions Reasons
Central Region
SBST 57, 175, 195, 195A, 408 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes along Depot Rd
Eastern Region
SBST 137 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow roads within Kaki Bukit Industrial Estate
Northern Region
SBST
410G, 588 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes along Bishan St 12
North-East Region
SBST 73, 73T, 116, 116A, 315, 599 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes along S’goon Nth Ave 4
SBST 100, 100A, 135, 155, 561 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes along Upp Aljunied Rd
GAS
381 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow roads & U-turn along Punggol East End
Western Region
SBST 32, 122 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes along Margaret Dr
SBST 92 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow roads & U-turn along Science Park Dr
SBST /  SMRT  / TTS 77, 156, 970 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes along Sixth Ave

Deployment Restrictions for Articulated Buses

With the retirement of the older Mercedes-Benz O405G articulated buses in favour of more double-deck buses by the LTA, unofficial restrictions have been imposed by the LTA on the deployment of the newer MAN A24 articulated buses currently in operation that were transferred to SBS Transit and Tower Transit under the Bus Contracting Model (BCM) in 2018 and 2021.

Operator Depot(s) Restrictions
SBST Seletar Depot (SEDEP) Officially deployed on feeder bus services in Yishun only (800, 804, 806, 807, 807A, 807B, 811, 811A), with past occurrences on Service 812
TTS Mandai Depot (MDDEP) Officially deployed on Service 858 only, with past occurrences on Services 169 & 969

Unofficial Deployment Restrictions on Airport Bus Services (Oct 2017 – Sep 2021)

In Oct 2017, unofficial restrictions were imposed by the LTA on the bus models deployed on bus services serving Changi Airport. The new restriction required buses deployed on airport bus services to be retrofitted with an internal announcement system.

At the time, only Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses were fitted with such announcement systems. Massive redeployments were made for Bus Services 27, 53 and 858, swapping out the remaining Scania K230UB and MAN A22 (Euro 5) buses for Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses. Bus Services 24, 34 & 36 were already operating a full fleet of Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses under their respective BCM route packages, while Bus Service 110 was launched with a full fleet of Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses in Oct 2017.

Buses procured by LTA since 2018 are retrofitted with announcement systems, which eventually reduced the need for such a restriction on bus deployments for airport bus services.

In Sep 2021, Tower Transit took over the operation of Bus Service 858 under the Mandai Bus Package, operating a fleet of MAN A22 (Euro 5) buses without such announcement systems. Therefore, this indicated the unofficial discontinuation of fleet restrictions on airport bus services by the LTA.


Former Fleet Restrictions on Bus Services

The following defunct bus services operated with no double-deck or articulated buses due to the following route limitations. Non-deployment of high capacity buses on bus services due to insufficient passenger demand are excluded from the table below.

Operator Service(s) Fleet Restrictions Reasons
SBST, SMRT 39, 85, 171, 800, 804, 806, 811, 811A, 812, 851, 853, 854, 854E, 855, 856, 857, 859 Only single-decker and articulated buses allowed Low headroom in former Yishun Bus Interchange. Restrictions removed when the interchange was relocated in 2015.
SBST, SMRT 48, (66), 67, (171), 700/700A, 960, 960e Only single-decker and articulated buses allowed Low headroom along Dunearn Rd / Bt Timah Rd due to low hanging tree branches. Restrictions removed after tree pruning in 2014.
SBST (103) Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow lanes and U-turns along Piccadilly. Restrictions removed after road widening in 2015.
SBST / SMRT 145, 176 Only single-decker buses allowed Low headroom along Henderson Road due to low hanging tree branches. Restrictions removed after tree pruning in 2014.
SMRT 176, 653, 963, 963e Only single-decker and articulated buses allowed Low headroom along Hillview Rd due to former KTM railway overhead bridge. Restrictions removed after removal of overhead bridge in 2012.
SMRT 188R, 963R, RWS8, RWS88, NR1, NR6 Only single-decker and double-decker buses allowed Narrow roads in RWS Car Park for articulated buses.
GAS
386 Only single-decker buses allowed Narrow U-turn points. along Edgefield Plains and Edgedale Plains. Restrictions removed after the opening of Punggol Nth Ave in 2023.
SMRT 920 Only single-decker and articulated buses allowed Low headroom along Saujana Rd due to low hanging tree branches. Restrictions removed after tree pruning in 2018.

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