High Capacity Buses

Updated 25 November 2018

High capacity buses are a collective group of buses that provide greater capacity, either through having more seats or standees, to accommodate more commuters, in comparison to rigid single-deck buses.

High capacity buses are utilized in public bus networks worldwide to improve operational efficiency by ferrying more passengers per trip, eliminating the need to deploy multiple rigid single-deck buses on heavily utilized bus services. The operation of these buses reduces the operational and manpower costs for bus operators with the usage of lesser buses and more effective utilization of bus drivers across bus networks.

Currently, two types of high capacity buses are operated in Singapore – Double-Deck Buses (or double decker) and Articulated Buses (more affectionately known as the Bendy Bus).

Double-Deck Buses

Double-deck buses are the oldest and most common type of high capacity buses that are operated by public bus operators in Singapore. They consist of two levels (or decks) – the Upper Deck and Lower Deck. With 55 additional seats on the upper deck (for modern air-conditioned double-deck buses), they provide more capacity through the availability of more seats in comparison to rigid buses. However, standing is prohibited on the upper deck due to safety reasons.

The earliest double-deck buses in Singapore, the Leyland Atlantean, were launched by the Singapore Bus Service (SBS) (presently known as SBS Transit) on 13 June 1977, making their debuts on the newly introduced Bus Service 86, running from Tampines Way (in Hougang) to the city centre of Singapore. As these buses became popular among commuters, more units were procured by SBS into the 1980s and 1990s to cope with the increasing demand of bus services over the decades.

With the introduction of air-conditioning on public buses, later models of double-deck buses were also retrofitted with air-conditioning units. While the air-conditioning units of single-deck buses are fitted on the roof of the bus, the units for double-deck buses have to be fitted at the rear of buses due to the issue of height clearance, as well as the flow of air-conditioning within the bus. Therefore, all air-conditioned double-deck buses require an additional rear axle in order to support the weight of the air-conditioning system, which also increases the length of these double-deck buses to the conventional 12 m (similar to rigid buses).

While Singapore’s second public bus operator, the Trans-Island Bus Service (TIBS) (later known as SMRT Buses), conventionally used articulated buses as their main type of high capacity buses since the late 1990s, the operator also started the operation of double-deck buses in July 2014 in a bid to improve the efficiency of its bus services.

With the commencement of the Bus Contracting Model (BCM) in 2016, the two new bus operators in Singapore, Tower Transit Singaporeand Go-Ahead Singapore, also took over double-deck buses from the incumbent bus operators as part of their operations of the Bulim and Loyang bus packages respectively.

The table below provides the list of operational bus services in Singapore that operate double-deck buses, along with their commencement years/dates:

Trunk Bus Services:

Service Commencement Date Remarks
2 1984
3 7 September 2015
4 17 August 2015
5 7 January 2008
6 11 August 2008
7 1983
8 1 March 1990 Since introduction
9 2003
10 1983
12 1983
13 16 July 2007
14 1984
17 2003
19 8 October 2005
20 23 June 2014
21 1998
22 1994
23 1987
25 1988
28 2 October 1994 Since introduction
30 1980
31 1998
35 18 May 1998 Non-air-conditioned introduction
11 August 2015 Reintroduction under BSEP
35M 11 August 2015 Reintroduction under BSEP
37 26 May 2008
39 2 June 2015
41 14 December 2014 Since introduction under BSEP
43 3 January 2012
43M 16 November 2014 Since introduction under BSEP
45 28 November 2011
46 12 June 2016 Since introduction under BSEP
47 20 December 2015 Since introduction under BSEP
48 28 November 2016
49 14 December 2013 Since introduction under BSEP
50 16 December 2012 Since introduction under BSEP
51 1989
52 7 January 2012
54 29 November 2011
55 2003
56 22 December 1985 Since introduction
58 1 September 2008
59 26 June 2007
60 2003
61 1987 Double-deck buses removed after handover to TIBS
17 November 2014 Reintroduction under SMRT
62 1997
64 1992
65 1985
66 1 May 2015 Weekend deployments and occasional weekday deployments
67 15 February 2015
69 1998
70 1992
70M 1992 Renumbered from Service 70X on 28 January 2008
71 9 December 2017 Since introduction under BSEP
72 1999
74 1985
76 2002
78 1999 Non-air-conditioned introduction
20 May 2008
79 10 August 2009
80 12 December 1999 Since introduction
81 1983
83 4 September 2016 Debut under Go-Ahead Singapore
85 22 June 2015
86 5 December 1999 Since introduction
87 19 September 1999 Since introduction
88 28 February 1999 Since introduction
89 2003
90 25 June 2012
91 2004 Used to operate permanent double deck buses, downgraded to peak hour crossovers only in 2011
93 1994 Used to operate permanent double deck buses, downgraded to occasional deployments in 2011
94 22 November 2012
95 28 February 2011
96 10 January 2012
97 1998
98 1996
98M 1996 Renumbered from Short Working Trip 98A on 28 January 2008
99 1992
101 2 September 2013
102 20 September 2015 Since introduction under BSEP
103 1990 Double-deck buses removed after handover to TIBS
20 January 2016 Reintroduction under SBS Transit
106 28 October 1985 Double-deck buses removed after handover to TIBS
18 August 2014 Reintroduction under SMRT
107 2001
107M 2001 Renumbered from Service 107X on 28 January 2008
109 28 May 2012
111 1984
117 20 December 2015 Since introduction under BSEP
118 20 December 2015 Since introduction under BSEP
119 2003 First debut when introduced, withdrawn due to insufficient demand
21 October 2012 Reintroduction under BSEP
121 18 November 2018
123 30 July 2017
125 26 August 2013
127 18 December 2016 Since introduction under BSEP
129 18 December 2016 Since introduction under BSEP
130 30 September 2013
132 1987
133 5 November 1989 Since introduction
134 20 March 2016 Since introduction under BSEP
139 1995 First introduction under SBS
17 October 2011 Reintroduction under SBS Transit
143 1984
143M 18 May 2014
145 6 April 2015
147 1984
151 4 August 2008
153 1987
154 1986
157 1997
161 2002
163 15 June 2011
163M 15 June 2011 Occasional deployments
165 1978
166 1986
167 26 March 2018 Peak hour crossover and weekend deployment
168 2002
169 1980 Double-deck buses withdrawn after handover to TIBS
1 October 2014 Reintroduction under SMRT
171 29 May 2015 First accidentally deployed in 2015, commencement of weekend deployment in 2018
172 14 July 2015
174 2003
176 17 November 2014
179 7 January 2001 Since introduction
180 12 January 2016
181 7 March 2011
181M 21 March 2016 Since introduction
182 1998
182M 28 January 2008 Renumbered from Service 182X on 28 January 2008
183 26 September 2011
184 10 April 2018 Occasional deployments since 2018
185 24 March 2008
186 2000 Non-air-conditioned introduction
30 January 2008
187 1991 Double-deck buses withdrawn after handover to TIBS
12 January 2015 Reintroduction under SMRT
188 7 March 1999 Double-deck buses withdrawn after handover to TIBS
15 September 2014 Reintroduction under SMRT
189 1987 Double-deck buses withdrawn after handover to TIBS
26 October 2015 Reintroduction under SMRT
190 1993 Double-deck buses withdrawn after handover to TIBS
18 August 2014 Reintroduction under SMRT
192 1998
193 1998
196 1982
197 1981
198 1981
199 2000
201 23 November 2014 Since introduction under BSEP
246 1994
247 18 June 2017 Since introduction under BSEP
248 18 June 2017 Since introduction under BSEP
249 1994
251 1994
252 1994
253 12 December 2015 Since introduction
254 1994
255 1994
257 1994
258 21 November 2015 Since introduction under BSEP
700 15 September 2014
700A 15 September 2014
851 18 September 2016
854 16 August 2015
856 18 May 2015
857 26 April 2015
858 8 January 2016 Special downroute deployment
883 14 November 2017
960 16 February 2015
961 15 June 2015
961# 15 June 2015
962 10 September 2017
963 15 September 2014
964 12 January 2015
965 17 November 2014
966 18 August 2014
969 18 August 2014
972 13 July 2014
974 9 July 2018
975 5 October 2015 Peak hour crossover
979 28 December 2015
980 22 April 2018 Weekend deployment
981 12 October 2015
983 25 April 2015 Since introduction under BSEP
985 13 July 2015
990 9 July 2018 Peak hour crossover
991 1 October 2018

Feeder Bus Services:

Service Commencement Date Remarks
222 1998
225 18 February 2008
228 8 September 2013 Special bus deployment
240 1996 Non-air-conditioned introduction
13 September 2010
241 15 March 2009 Since introduction
242 1996
243 27 May 2013 Green Plate
1996 Non-air-conditioned introduction (White Plate)
3 September 2007 White Plate
285 1999 Introduced as peak hour crossover, converted to full day deployments in 2012
291 1999 Non-air-conditioned introduction
14 July 2011
293 19 June 2013
300 1993 Double-deck buses withdrawn after handover to TIBS
2017 Emergency bus deployment under SMRT
302 1993 Double-deck buses withdrawn after handover to TIBS
3 March 2016 Emergency bus deployment under SMRT
334 1996 Non-air-conditioned introduction
7 January 2012
410 1994 Non-air-conditioned introduction (White Plate)
9 September 2013 White Plate
800 15 October 2017
804 15 October 2017
806 16 July 2017
807 15 October 2017
811 8 January 2018
812 15 October 2017
900 10 April 2018
900A 10 April 2018
901 23 April 2018
903 23 April 2018
911 29 October 2015 Emergency bus deployment
920 10 June 2018
922 23 April 2018 Introduced as peak hour crossover, converted to full day deployments in June 2018
941 9 July 2018 Peak hour crossover

Express/City Direct Bus Services:

Service Commencement Date Remarks
10e 20 September 2007
12e 28 January 2018 Since introduction
89e 26 October 2009
97e 13 June 2016 Occasional deployments under Tower Transit Singapore
147e 28 January 2018 Since introduction
151e 13 April 2015 Occasional deployments
167e 25 November 2018 Since introduction
174e 31 May 2012 Occasional deployments
188e 2016 Renumbered from Express Service 188E on 13 August 2018
502 2000 First debut when introduced, initially removed after route cutback under North East Line Rationalization
24 May 2007
502A 24 May 2007 Occasional deployments
506 9 March 2015
513 17 December 2012 Since introduction
518 25 August 2014
518A 25 August 2014 Occasional deployments
653 13 April 2017 Debut under SMRT
655 2018
663 28 September 2017
665 9 April 2018
850E 18 August 2014
851e 27 May 2018 Since introduction
854e 2016 Renumbered from Express Service 854E on 13 August 2018
868E 11 August 2015 Renumbered from Express Service 868 on 13 August 2018
951E 15 September 2014
960e 28 October 2018 Since introduction
963e 28 October 2014 Renumbered from Express Service 963E on 13 August 2018
971E 8 September 2016
982E 7 September 2016

Articulated Buses

Articulated buses are the second most common type of high capacity buses that are operated by public bus operators in Singapore. They consist of a front trailer and an extended rear trailer. With 25 additional seats in the extended rear trailer (for modern air-conditioned double-deck buses), as well as additional standees in the articulated joint and rear trailer, they provide more capacity through the availability of more standing space in comparison to rigid buses.

The earliest articulated bus in Singapore, the Mercedes-Benz O405G, was launched by the Trans-Island Bus Service (TIBS) (presently known as SMRT Buses) on 14 March 1996, making its debut on Bus Service 171. To cope with the increasing demand of TIBS bus services, more units were procured by TIBS between 1997 and 2004. All articulated buses purchased by TIBS are delivered with air-conditioning systems.

While Singapore’s largest public bus operator, the Singapore Bus Service (SBS) (later known as SBS Transit), conventionally used double-deck buses as their main type of high capacity buses since the late 1970s, the operator procured two articulated buses – a Volvo B10MA Mark IV Articulated (SBS998Y) and Mercedes-Benz O405G (SBS999U) for demonstration purposes in the late 1990s. However, they were later exported to Australia in 2004 after they were deemed inefficient for the operation of bus services by SBS Transit. However, under the Seletar Bus Package, SBS Transit restarted the operation of articulated buses in March 2018, taking over 10 units from SMRT Buses as part of the route package.

The two other bus operators in Singapore, Tower Transit Singapore and Go-Ahead Singapore, currently do not operate any articulated buses in their fleet.

The table below provides the list of operational bus services in Singapore that operate articulated buses, along with their commencement years/dates:

Trunk Bus Services:

Service Commencement Date Remarks
61 3 September 2000 Occasional bus deployment
67 26 December 1999
167 2010s Occasional bus deployment
169 2000
171 14 March 1996 Occasional weekend deployment
172 2001 Occasional bus deployment
176 1997
178 2010s Emergency bus deployment
180 1997 Occasional bus deployment
184 2000
187 2000 Occasional bus deployment
188 26 December 1999
190 25 July 1999
700 2000s Occasional bus deployment
700A 2000s Occasional bus deployment
854 2000
856 1997
857 2001 Occasional bus deployment
858 29 November 2015
859 2001 Weekend deployment
859A 2017 Weekend deployment
859B 2017 Weekend deployment
927 2010s Emergency bus deployment
960 1997
961 2010s Emergency bus deployment
962 2001 Occasional bus deployment
963 2002 Occasional bus deployment
964 2000 Occasional bus deployment
965 2010s Emergency bus deployment
966 2010s Emergency bus deployment
969 2001
972 2014 Occasional bus deployment
975 2016 Deployed on Short Working Trip 975B
979 2016 Occasional bus deployment
980 27 December 1998 Occasional weekend deployment
983 2015 Occasional bus deployment
985 2000s Emergency bus deployment

Feeder Bus Services:

Service Commencement Date Remarks
300 2000
301 21 November 2016
302 2000
307 2000 Emergency bus deployment
800 2000
804 2000
806 2000
807 2017
811 1998
812 1997
900 2000
900A 26 June 2006
901 2000
902 17 April 2006
903 2000
903M 13 January 2017
911 2000
912 2000
912M 1 September 2016
913 2000
920 2000s Emergency bus deployment
922 2000s Emergency bus deployment

Express Bus Services:

Service Commencement Date Remarks
188e 2014 Occasional bus deployment; Renumbered from Express Service 188E on 13 August 2018
854e 2007 Occasional bus deployment; Renumbered from Express Service 854E on 13 August 2018
951E 2015 Occasional bus deployment
963e 2006 Occasional bus deployment; Renumbered from Express Service 963E on 13 August 2018
971E 2012
982E 2015 Occasional bus deployment

Non-Basic Bus Services:

Service Commencement Date Remarks
BPS1 2010s Special bus deployment
NR1 2000 Articulated buses deployed during festive seasons
NR2 2000 Articulated buses deployed during festive seasons
NR3 2000 Articulated buses deployed during festive seasons
NR5 2000 Articulated buses deployed during festive seasons
NR6 2000 Articulated buses deployed during festive seasons
NR7 2000 Articulated buses deployed during festive seasons
NR8 2000 Articulated buses deployed during festive seasons

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One thought on “High Capacity Buses

  • 30 May 2018 at 12:13 PM
    Permalink

    700/A still got occasional cameos of BDs

    Reply

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