Several MAN A22 buses, formerly operated by SMRT Buses, have been 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.
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 were completed.
(As of 3 June 2021)
|Owner / Operator||Units
|Registered to Leons Automotive (awaiting sale)||11||PC8948H PC8976B PC8997R PC9034M PC9043L PC9054E PC9064B PC9089E PC9263T PC9264R PC9271U|
|Operated by Cityline Travel||1||PC9040U
|Registered to Leisure Frontier (S) Pte Ltd||1||PD7774T (Re-registered from PC8969Y)|
|To be transferred to Leisure Frontier||1||PC9173U|
|To be transferred to A & S Transportation Pte Ltd||6||PC8932C PC8941B PC9078L PC9098D PC9174S PC9255S|
PC9040U is currently 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 yet to be ascertained.
Additional seats (obtained from scrapped Volvo B9TL (CDGE) buses) were installed in the wheelchair bay area.
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 changed to Leisure Frontier (S) Pte Ltd sometime afterwards.
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
The bus is commonly spotted on Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)-contracted shuttle bus routes.
Another unit, PC9173U, is expected to be transferred to Leisure Frontier soon.
A & S Transportation
A & S Transportation shared a Facebook video on 28 May 2021 that promoted their ownership of a “CovidSafeBus” fleet of buses. The video shows six 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 Transportation in an as-is condition.