New Bus for London visits Singapore

This article covers the¬†New Bus for London’s visit to Singapore in 2014.
For the 2016 visit, refer to this article.

The New Bus for London, prototype unit LT3 registered LT61 CHT, went on demonstration tours around Singapore in February 2014. The unique appearance of the bus had captured the attention of the public and bus enthusiasts alike.

The bus belonged to Transport for London and was leased to Arriva London for revenue service before embarking on a global trade mission under the UK Government (Foreign & Commonwealth Office). LT3 made its first overseas appearance in Hong Kong last year. It reached Singapore in late January 2014, and was left in the care of SBS Transit. During its stay in Singapore, the bus ran with a LTA Special Purpose License which expired on 28 February 2014, when the bus will leave Singapore.

It must also be noted that LT3 was repainted with the Metroline London logo near the front of the bus, the company being a subsidiary of Comfort DelGro (SBS Transit is also a subsidiary of Comfort DelGro). The bus previously bore the Arriva London logo in the same areas.

During its brief stay here, the bus was temporarily stationed at Hougang Bus Depot, and occasionally, British High Commission Singapore.

The bus in brief:

New Bus for London
NBfL at Suntec City
NBfL at Suntec City
Other names NB4L, Borismaster
Manufacturer Wrightbus
Year 2012–
Technical Data
Length 11.2m
Width / Height 2.5m / 4.4m
Entry Fully low-floor
Engine + Transmission Cummins ISBe and PMSM powered hybrid drive system
Emission Standard Euro V (SCR + Hybrid drivetrain)

The New Bus for London¬†(NB4L, sometimes called the New Routemaster or Borismaster) is a low-floor wheelchair-accessible double-decker transit bus operating in London. Based off the original¬†AEC Routemaster, the bus features the¬†‘hop-on hop-off’ rear open platform of the original Routemaster. The bus is currently manufactured by Wrightbus in Northern Ireland.

Design effort:

The need for a new Routemaster was due to a number of factors. The ageing Routemaster fleet of the 1960s were being replaced in favor of more modern wheelchair accessible low-floor buses, which offered greater comfort and safety. Newer buses also did away with the need for a conductor at the rear of the bus to manage fare payment, reducing operating costs. The iconic Routemaster was formally withdrawn from service in 2005, but in 2008, elected mayor Boris Johnson pledged for a new Routemaster to replace the former.

Following an open design competition in 2008, Northern Ireland-based bus manufacturer Wrightbus was awarded the contract to build the bus at the end of 2009. The final design was unveiled in May 2010, and in December 2011, the first working prototype was on the roads. The first new bus, fleet number LT 2, entered revenue service with Arriva London on 27 February 2012, plying route 38.

Basic Specifications:

  • Cummins ISBe 4.5¬†engine
    4 cylinder, 4.5-liters, 185 horsepower, 580-760 Nm (150-210 PS) @ 2300 rpm
  • Siemens hybrid motor and transmission
    Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (PMSM), delivering 185kW
  • Euro-V compliant
    Diesel engine utilizing Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology coupled with hybrid drivetrain. Also compliant with Euro-VI standards of 2014.
  • Wrightbus¬†Bodywork
    Buses built by Wrightbus in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, and shipped to London.
  • Printed rolling destination blinds for front, side and rear displays
  • Licensed capacity of 87
    40 upper deck seats, 22 lower deck seats, 25 standing

The hybrid drivetrain of the NBfL is unique in that buses do not use a mechanical gearbox. Instead, the rear axle is powered solely using an electric motor. The engine drives a generator that supplies energy to a lithium-phosphate battery pack, which in turn provides electrical current for the electric drive motors, replenished by regenerative braking technology.

Public Showcase @ Suntec City (8 February 2014):

The NBfL made its maiden public appearance in Singapore on Saturday, 8 Feb 2014. The bus was featured at¬†Conrad Centennial Singapore from 11:00am to 1:30pm, in line with an annual exhibition showcasing four of UK’s top universities. The bus was later moved to Suntec Convention Center for a public showcase, and departed at 4:30pm.

Pictures of the event @ Conrad Centennial:

Pictures of the event @ Suntec Convention Center:

Although most of the hype were generated by bus enthusiasts, some members of the public did show genuine interest in the bus. At Suntec City, some wheelchair-bound passengers got a chance to try boarding the bus using the automatic ramp installed underneath the middle door. Throughout the event, the air-conditioning of the bus was not turned on.

The NBfL has limited internal ventilation and would not cope with the year-round tropical climate of Singapore. Similar issues were raised in London about the discomfort of the bus during the summer. Later the following year (September 2015), Transport for London (TfL) announced that it would retrofit hopper windows to all existing NBfL buses for £2 million.

Here are some combined photos from the event:

All stickers used on the NBfL are standardized across the fleet, i.e. between various operators. A PDF containing all stickers can be found in the NBfL Lease Agreement in the External Links section.

Private Showcase @ Eden Hall (10 February 2014):

LT3 made an appearance at¬†British High Commissioner’s Residence at Eden Hall. The bus was sighted within the compounds in the evening. The attached photo below is taken along Nassim Road.

Private Showcase @ Rainbow Centre (12 February 2014):

LT3 was sighted at Rainbow Centre Singapore in the morning (9:30am to 10:30am) , Tanglin Trust School at noon, and back to Rainbow Centre Singapore in the afternoon (2:00pm to 3:00pm).The Straits Times had incorrectly announced the appearance of the bus at Rainbow Centre as a public event, where it was intended as private event for students and staff of the special needs school.

Fortunately, the staff were accommodating enough to allow an extra half an hour for members of the public to view the bus within their premises.

Public Showcase @ ONE¬į15 Marina Club and GBTB (16¬†February¬†2014):

The NBfL was out on a public showcase on 16 February, vising three locations around Singapore. It was at¬†ONE¬į15 Marina Club within Sentosa Cove from¬†10:00am to 12:00pm, followed by¬†Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre from 1:00pm to 3:00pm, and finally¬†Gardens By The Bay (The Meadow) from 4:00pm to 6:00pm.

Pictures of the event at ONE¬į15¬†Marina Club:

Pictures of the event at Gardens By The Bay (The Meadow):

Public Showcase &@ GBTB (19 February 2014):
Image from UK in Singapore Facebook page

To promote British Airways‘ introduction of Airbus A380 flights to Singapore, LT3 made its way to Golden Garden at Gardens by the Bay from 11:00am to 2:00pm where visitors could win two pairs of tickets from Singapore to London on the A380. With¬†British Airways cabin crew onboard the bus, 380 helium balloons on the lower deck could be popped for a chance at the prize.

From 28 October 2014, the A380 featured on Flight BA11 from London Heathrow to Singapore, operating on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and the returning Flight BA12, operating on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Public Showcase @ Chinatown (20 February 2014):

The NBfL toured around Little India, Kampong Glam and Chinatown from 3.30pm, and eventually parked near the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum (šĹõÁČôŚĮļ) in Chinatown from 4.30pm to 7:00pm.

Pictures of the event at Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum:

Public Showcase @ Jurong Point & Gillman Barracks (22 February 2014):

LT3 made it’s last scheduled public showcase on Saturday, 22 February, visiting¬†Jurong Point Shopping Centre in the morning and¬†Gillman Barracks in the afternoon and evening. The bus also hosted a art exhibition at the Barracks, featuring artwork from various British artists.

From 11:00am to 2:00pm, the bus was at Jurong Point Shopping Centre as part of a showcase with retail partner CapitaLand shopping malls. The bus was stationed outside the UOB Bank branch facing Boon Lay Way. Pictures of the event here:

The bus was later at Gillman Barracks for a British Icon Pop Up Exhibition, where the bus was decorated with various artworks by British artists. Presented by the Icon Gallery, the exhibition took place between 4:30pm and 7:30pm, although the bus was present at Gillman Barracks from 2:30pm to facilitate the setting up of artworks.

The site of Gillman Barracks itself carries a rich feel of the British presence. The camp was set up in 1936 and consists of 14 buildings which survive today, retaining their colonial architecture. Currently used as a contemporary art venue, Gillman Barracks couldn’t have been a more appropriate location for the art showcase onboard the London Bus.

The bus eventually left around 9:00pm. Pictures from the event are attached:

Other Private Showcases:
  • 23 Feb: The British Club,¬†73 Bukit Tinggi Road
  • 25 Feb: Dover Court Preparatory School,¬†301 Dover Road
  • 26 Feb: SBS Transit Braddel Bus Park,¬†205 Braddell Road


NBfL Profile. Images extracted from TfL Lease Agreement
NBfL Profile. Images extracted from TfL Lease Agreement.

Video Showcases

External Links & References:

Back to Bus Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *