Several MAN A22 buses, formerly operated by SMRT Buses, were sold to private bus operators in 2021. These buses were formerly part of the COMET MAXI fleet, specifically retrofitted for use as COVID-19 patient transporters. Twenty such MAN A22 buses underwent conversion works.
18 units were acquired by A&S Transit, while 2 units were acquired by Leisure Frontier.
In May 2020, twenty MAN A22 (Euro V) buses previously owned by SMRT Buses were converted into COVID-19 patient transporters, branded COMET MAXIs. These buses first entered revenue service with SMRT in late 2011, but were re-registered as private buses after COMET MAXI conversion. Each bus seats around 34 patients. During their COMET MAXI stint, buses were owned by Sheares Healthcare and operated by Strides Transportation.
Interior modifications were made to enable the safe carriage of COVID-19 patients. These included an airtight floor-to-ceiling partition between the driver and passenger compartments, separate air-conditioning systems for both compartments, and the installation of a Negative Pressure System (NPS) with a HEPA filter in the passenger compartment that necessitated the removal of two window seats. All buses were also repainted to the COMET MAXI livery.
The 20 converted MAN A22 buses and their new registration numbers were:
COMET operations were scaled down massively sometime around August/September 2020 with the decline of COVID-19 cases in workers’ dormitories, and the fleet of buses sat largely disused until 2021.
Sold via motor dealer
Sometime in 2021, the ownership of 19 MAN A22 COMET MAXI buses (all except PC9040U) was transferred to Leons Automotive, a wholesaler of motor vehicles. In addition, all 19 units were laid up in late April 2021, one year after they were registered as private buses, possibly to avoid paying road tax on these unused vehicles.
Ownership was subsequently transferred to various Private Bus Operators after the sale of buses was completed.
(As of 12 Nov 2021)
|Owner / Operator||Units
|Operated by A&S Transit
(Registered to A&S Transit Pte Ltd)
|18||PZ442G (Re-registered from PC8976B) [Former SMB217C]
PZ842K (Re-registered from PC9043L) [Former SMB208D] PC8932C PC8941B PC8948H PC8997R PC9034M PC9054E PC9040U PC9064B PC9078L PC9089E PC9098D PC9174S PC9255S PC9263T PC9264R PC9271U
|Operated by Leisure Frontier
(Registered to Leisure Frontier (S) Pte Ltd / Frontier Express Pte Ltd)
|2||PD7774T (Re-registered from PC8969Y) [Former SMB219Y] PD8989J (Re-registered from PC9173U) [Former SMB210X]|
- PC9040U – Operated by Cityline Travel till Q2 2021
A&S Transit – 18 Units
The bulk of the COMET MAXI fleet was acquired by A&S Transit, with most buses retaining the PC-prefixed registration plates from their days in COMET service.
- PC8932C PC8941B PC8948H PC8997R PC9034M PC9054E PC9040U PC9064B PC9078L PC9089E PC9098D PC9174S PC9255S PC9263T PC9264R PC9271U
- PZ442G [Former SMB217C, then PC8976B under COMET operations]
- PZ842K [Former SMB208D, then PC9043L under COMET operations]
A&S Transit first publicised its MAN A22 buses via a Facebook video on 28 May 2021 that promoted their “CovidSafeBus” fleet of buses. The video shows six COMET MAXI buses that were pasted with the A&S Transportation logo, which were PC8932C, PC9098D, PC9174S, PC8941B, PC9255S & PC9078L. The buses appear to have retained all COMET MAXI modifications and were taken over by A&S Transit in an as-is condition. Ownership of these 18 buses was transferred to A&S Transit Pte Ltd progressively from mid- to end-2021.
Also in August 2021, PC9040U was the first of several buses that were repainted to A&S’s livery with modifications including:
- Removal of Negative Pressure System (NPS)
- Additional seats for 3×2 seating configuration in the front section with wheelchair bay replaced with seats
- Lap belts for all seats
All buses were eventually refitted to the 3×2 seating configuration to maximize their seating capacity. However, only a handful of buses would eventually be repainted or had their NPS removed.
A&S Transit Night Services
MAN A22 buses owned by A&S Transit were deployed on Night Services from January to June 2023.
Mandai – Khatib Shuttle
A&S Transit is a regular subcontractor for ComfortDelGro Bus for the Mandai Wildlife Reserve Mandai-Khatib Shuttle on selected peak periods such as weekends or school holidays from September 2023.
Leisure Frontier – 2 units
Two MAN A22 buses were acquired by Leisure Frontier.
- PD7774T [Former SMB219Y, then PC8969Y under COMET operations]
- PD8989J [Former SMB210X, then PC9173U under COMET operations]
Leisure Frontier shared in a 19 May 2021 Facebook post that it had taken over PC8969Y and repainted it into its company livery in white, orange, and red. It was taken out of layup and re-registered as PD7774T to Frontier Tours Pte Ltd in late May 2021, but the company of registration was changed to Leisure Frontier (S) Pte Ltd sometime afterwards.
Another unit, PC9173U, was transferred to Frontier Express Pte Ltd in July 2021 and re-registered as PD8989J.
Modifications were made to the bus to revert some of the COMET MAXI modifications:
- Removed negative pressure system (NPS) and window privacy stickers
- Removed emergency door between driver and passenger compartment – but the existing bulkhead is still fitted to the bus
- Removed driver blower fan
- Missing window seats (initially removed to facilitate the NPS installation) were reinstalled using seats obtained from scrapped Volvo B9TL (CDGE) buses
- Repainted to Leisure Frontier Livery
PD7774T was also used during the 2022 National Day Parade as part of a hostage rescue demonstration by the Singapore Armed Forces.
Former Interim Owner – Cityline Travel (PC9040U)PC9040U only (2021) (Click to expand)
PC9040U was formerly operated by Cityline Travel, and was the only COMET MAXI A22 to not have been laid up in April 2021.
As of late May 2021, the bus was last observed to be bearing the COMET MAXI livery and the Negative Pressure System (NPS). The ownership of the bus itself is presumed to be a motor financing or leasing company that purchased the bus from Sheares Healthcare, and is yet to be ascertained.
Additional seats (obtained from scrapped Volvo B9TL (CDGE) buses) were installed in the bus and the NPS was eventually removed.
Ownership of the bus was transferred to A&S Transit Pte Ltd in July 2021.