|Years in operation||2008 – Present|
|Engine||Mercedes-Benz OM 457 hLA|
|Transmission||ZF Ecomat 6HP 592C|
|Accessibility||Low Entry & Wheelchair-accessible|
|Emission Standard||Euro V (SCR)|
The Mercedes-Benz OC500LE is a low-entry, rear-engined city bus built by Mercedes-Benz since the mid-2000s, as the successor of the Mercedes-Benz O405NH chassis, it was sold to operators around the world, particularly in Australia, Singapore and Europe.
Prior to March 2021, SMRT Buses was the sole public transport operator with Mercedes-Benz OC500LEs in its fleet, with 134 units introduced between 2008 and 2009. SBS Transit also received a demonstrator unit for trial purposes before it was sold to a private operator.
Tower Transit commenced usage of Mercedes-Benz OC500LE buses from March 2021 with the transfer of 1 unit from SMRT Buses to Tower Transit in preparation for the Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package.
The Mercedes-Benz OC500LE was the successor to the O405NH, a low-entry version of the highly successful O405 chassis. Co-designed with the Mercedes-Benz Citaro, it shares much in common with the Citaro chassis used for the Mercedes-Benz Citaro integral bus range. The ‘OC500LE’ model breaks down into Omnibus Chassis, low-entry
Oc500LEs come with the standard Mercedes-Benz OM 457 hLA inline 6-cylinder, 11.967-litre turbocharged and inter-cooled engine, with a power output of 299 horsepower. A 252-horsepower version was discontinued after its Euro 3 rating fell short of modern emission standards. The newer engine relies on Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology to achieve its Euro IV / Euro V rating, requiring the use of diesel exhaust fluids such as AdBlue. A CNG-powered engine option is also available with the Euro IV / V rating.
Currently, Mercedes-Benz only offers a ZF EcoLife 6-speed automatic transmission with integrated hydraulic retarder (model 6 AP 1200 B for the 252 hp CNG engine or model 6 AP 1400 B for the 299hp diesel engine). Previously available options were the Voith D864.3E 4-speed automatic transmission, as well as the ZF Ecomat 5 HP 502/592 5-speed and 6 HP 502/592 6-speed automatic transmissions.
SMRT Buses placed orders for an initial 134 Mercedes-Benz OC500LEs for fleet replacement and expansion. These buses would be the company’s first batch of new buses since their re-branding from Trans-Island Bus Services. Buses arrived in two batches, and were registered between 19 Jun 2008 and 1 Oct 2009 as SMB1H – SMB134H, the first batch of buses to use the SMB prefix for registration numbers.
|Basic Technical Specifications|
|Engine||Mercedes-Benz OM 457 hLA, 6 cylinders in-line, turbocharged & intercooled, 11967cc
Power rating of 220 kW (299 hp) @ 2000 rpm [ISO 1585] Torque rating of 1,250 Nm @ 1100 rpm [ISO 1585]
|Emissions control||Euro V-compliant
BlueTec® SCR diesel technology, common-rail fuel injection system. Requires diesel exhaust fluids such as AdBlue.
|Transmission||ZF Ecomat II 6HP 592C|
|Construction||Gemilang Coachworks Bodywork
Chassis built by EvoBus. Complete Knock-Down (CKD) kits made by Gemilang Coachworks and assembled by Thonburi Bus Body Co., Ltd. of Thailand. Bus uses a CapaCity licenced front from Mercedes-Benz.
|EDS||LAWO BENEFIT Electronic Display Sign (EDS); Orange LED Matrix design
Connected to a LAWO SICMA-Control controller
Mobitec MobiLED EDS (SMB91Y only)
|Passenger Capacity||Seating: 34 | Standing: 54 = 90 total
Not including 2 wheelchair bays
|Additional Specifications||NEC telematics system
SMC Transit doors
Vogelsitze System 750/3 seats (Vogelsitze System 601 for wheel arch seats)
Elekon Micro Systems next bus arrival display (SMB11D – SMB18K)
Mobileye 560 Advanced Driver Assistance System (SMB1H, SMB4A)
Stroller restraint system
The introduction of the Mercedes-Benz OC500LE scored many firsts. These buses were the first buses in Southeast Asia to meet the stringent Euro V emission standards, as well as SMRT’s first wheelchair-accessible buses. For SMRT Buses, it was their very first batch of new buses after the re-branding from Trans-Island Bus Services in 2004. Similar to TIBS, buses were registered in numerical order, and the OC500LE demonstrator, SMB1H, received number 1 in the new SMB registration prefix.
The LED-type LAWO BENEFIT EDS units were a first, in contrast to the older flip-dot designs in widespread use among SMRT’s existing fleet, and inbuilt voice announcements were a first for public transport buses in Singapore. Doors were supplied by SMC Transit, and roof-mounted air-conditioning supplied by Konvekta (model KL70T), but were replaced by Denso LD8u units midway through their lifespan, standardizing them with MAN A22 buses.
Demonstrator Unit (SMB1H):–
SMB1H was the demonstrator unit for the Mercedes-Benz OC500LE. It made its public appearance on 30 Apr 2008 during the launch of SMRT’s Go Green event, and was later registered as SMB1H. The bus entered revenue service on 29 June 2008, appearing on Service 190. For the first few years of service, it was pasted with a special Go Green with SMRT livery to promote SMRT’s commitment to the environment and the high emission standards of the bus.
The bus received an exterior refurbishment due to unforeseen circumstances. It is now a training bus.
Production Batch 1 (SMB2E –SMB67T):
Following the successful evaluation of the demonstrator unit SMB1H, SMRT Buses placed an initial order for 66 initial production units, also known as the Batch One. Registered as SMB2E – SMB67T, they shared identical technical specifications as SMB1H. The side and rear EDS were also of the LAWO BENEFIT model, but of a larger size for easier viewing of the route number. Interior seats featured black and red seat fabric covers, reflecting SMRT’s corporate colors, while reserved seats used yellow fabric covers. These buses entered service from September 2008 onwards.
Production Batch 2 (SMB68R – SMB134H):
SMRT Buses placed an additional order for 67 more production units of the Mercedes-Benz OC500LE, also known as the Batch Two. Registered as SMB68R – SMB134H, they shared identical technical specifications as the first batch.
The main difference from the Production Batch 1 lies in the interior. The Batch 2 buses used a new color scheme of blue and purple seats, and red for reserved seats. More grab poles and air-conditioning outlets were added to the rear of the bus. A blue-tinted sticker was fixed to the front windscreen to block off excess sunlight glare. These buses entered revenue service from July 2009 onwards.
In a case of theft, SMB51M had its rear EDS stolen somewhere around 2010. The bus was taken out of revenue service and returned a few months later with a rear EDS acquired from SMB76S.
SMB76S was involved in an accident when it lost control and smashed into a tree. It returned to service after a few months with a repaired front and a smaller-sized LAWO EDS at the rear, identical to those used on the Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses. SMB1H later received the same small-sized rear EDS unit.
SMB91Y was also involved in an accident. It returned to service with a new set of Mobitec MobiLED ED units, currently the only SMRT OC500LE with Mobitec EDS units.
SMB30Z was the first Mercedes-Benz OC500LE to be stickered with SMRT Buses’ new livery, replacing the older red and beige themed livery. However, it was repainted to the lush green livery in September 2019.
SMB11D – SMB18K received LED displays next to the entrance door. Supplied by Elekon Micro Systems, these were used as part of a trial to indicate the headway (in minutes) and crowd level of the subsequent bus.
SMB110B was the first OC500LE to be repainted into LTA’s Lush Green livery, with all units eventually repainted by early 2020.
All buses were retrofitted with a stroller restraint system at the forward wheelchair bay.
Tower Transit Mercedes-Benz OC500LE
In March 2021, a Mercedes-Benz OC500LE bus (SMB9L) was transferred from SMRT Buses to Tower Transit to prepare for its takeover of the Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package in September 2021.
Subsequently, more buses were transferred to Tower Transit in September & October 2021 under the Sembawang-Yishun Bus Package.
The bus features 34 permanent seats. Being a low-entry bus, the bus offers step-free access only between entry and exit doors, with seats behind the exit door built on a raised platform.
Like most single-deck buses in Singapore, the Mercedes-Benz OC500LE is configured with two doors: an entrance door at the front, and an exit door in the middle. The entrance doors are conventional inward-swinging leaf doors, while the exit doors are outward-swinging plug doors.
Seats were supplied by Vogel Industries of Malaysia (Model: System 750/3) in indigo, with priority seats in red. The front wheel arch seats use Vogel System 601 seats. Prior to refurbishment, seats were of a different colour.Original Interiors (Click to expand)
Demonstrator and Batch 1 (SMB1H – SMB67T): Seats were supplied in red and dark grey, with priority seats in yellow.
Batch 2 (SMB68R – SMB134H): Seats were supplied in indigo and purple, with priority seats in red.
The bus features two wheelchair bays, both located opposite the exit door. They each accommodate one passenger-in-wheelchair (PIW). Priority seats, which are indicated in red seat covers, occupy two rows of seats just ahead of the exit door.
Grab poles and handgrips are located on both sides of the aisle. All seats also have hand grips to provide commuters with additional support. Metal stanchion poles and handlebars are finished with a smooth reflective coat.
Bus stopping bell-pushes are located around the bus cabin, either mounted to stanchion poles or on the pillars in-between windows. Emergency hammers are also located on these pillars.
The turquoise display unit on the bottom left is the New On-board Bus Equipment (NOBE) fare collection system controller. To the right of the NOBE is the Trapeze Common Fleet Management System (CFMS) display unit. The gear selector, door controls and the handbrake lever are located on the right of the driver.
A CCTV monitor, located above the driver, assists with monitoring of the surroundings. Air-conditioning and Electronic Display Sign (EDS) controllers are co-located with the CCTV monitor above the driver.
Continued on Page 2:
- SBS Transit Demonstrator (sold to Chitson Transport)
- Photo Gallery