SMB5888H: MAN A95 Demonstrator

MAN ND323F (SMB5888H)
MAN A95
MAN A95 Demonstrator (SMB5888H)
Manufacturer MAN Truck And Bus SE
Bodywork Man Lion’s City DD / Gemilang Coachworks
Years in operation 2014—
Operator SMRT Buses

Back in 2014, SMRT was introducing double-deck buses to its fleet. Apart from putting of Alexander Dennis Enviro500 buses in service, it also took in a single demonstrator unit of the MAN A95 (also known as the MAN ND323F) for a year-long trial at the manufacturer’s request. This was part of an effort to evaluate new bus models.

The demonstrator bus, registered SMB5888H, entered service in November 2014. The trial was eventually successful, and paved the way for bulk orders with SMRT and subsequently LTA. As of mid-2020, more than 400 units of the MAN A95 are operating with Singapore public transport operators.

Main Article: MAN A95 (ND323F)


SMRT MAN A95 Demonstrator – SMB5888H

In 2014, SMRT Buses received a MAN A95 (ND323F) demonstrator unit for road trials. It was the first ever MAN A95 known to have be built – a new 3-axle bus chassis by MAN targeted at the right-hand-drive Asia Pacific market

The vehicle was registered on 1 October 2014 as SMB5888H, the second model of double-deck bus operated by SMRT.

SMB5888H made its revenue service debut on 5 November 2014, appearing on SMRT Bus Service 190 between Choa Chu Kang and New Bridge Road, based at Kranji Bus Depot. The bus was retained by SMRT after its trial period.

Basic Technical Specifications
Engine MAN D 2066 LUH-32 engine
Inline 6-cylinder two-stage turbocharged with intercooling, 10518cc
Power/Torque output of 235 kW (320 hp) @ 1900 rpm / 1600 Nm @ 1000 – 1400 rpm
Emission Standard Euro V compliant
Combines Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) technology with MAN’s PM-Kat® exhaust treatment system. Compliant with Euro V emission standard without requiring diesel exhaust fluids.
Transmission ZF EcoLife 6 AP 2000 B gearbox, six-speed automatic
Bodywork MAN Lion’s City DD bodywork
Chassis built in Germany; MAN Lion’s City DD bodywork supplied and assembled by Gemilang Coachworks under design license from MAN. Uses Constellium’s EcoRange aluminium bus body.
Capacity 57 Upper Deck Seating + 28 Lower Deck Seating + 50 Standing = 135 Passengers
One wheelchair bay with foldable seat (not included in licensed capacity)
EDS Mobitec MobiLED Electronic Display Sign (EDS)
Connected to a Mobitec MobiMASTER ICU 402 controller
Original: Aesys Libra EDS; Aesys KC640-USB controller
Additional Features Denso rear-mounted air-conditioning
Masats door systems
Ster NewCity seats
Stroller restraint system
Background

A brief history of SMRT double-deck bus adoption can be found here: SMRT Double-Deck Buses.

When SMRT made the decision to adopt double-deck buses to its fleet in 2014, it announced a bulk order of 201 Alexander Dennis Enviro500 buses, with deliveries commencing that year. At the same time, SMRT also had worked with ST Kinetics for several years, as the local distributor for MAN Bus and Truck. Back in 2014, ST Kinetics had previously delivered the MAN A22 demonstrator and MAN A24 demonstrator buses to SMRT, and was in the process of fulfilling MAN A22 production batch orders for SMRT.

As such, when MAN developed a new double-deck bus chassis for the Asia-Pacific right-hand-drive market, the bus was offered to SMRT Buses for a year-long evaluation. SMRT also took up this offer as an effort to test out new bus models. This was announced by SMRT’s Facebook page on 25 September 2014.

Like SMRT’s existing MAN A22 and MAN A24 buses, the MAN A95 demonstrator (SMB5888H) was bodied by Gemilang Coachworks in Malaysia. The MAN Lion’s City DD-inspired bodywork was built under design license from MAN. The bus is Gemilang’s third double-deck city bus for the Singapore market, after it bodied Scania K310UD and Volvo B9TL prototype buses for SBS Transit.

The vehicle was registered on 1 October 2014 as SMB5888H. The bus featured Ster NewCity seats (similar to SBS7777Y), leaf doors (entrance) and sliding plug doors (exit) supplied by Masats, and adjustable ball-type air-conditioning vents. Electronic Destination Signage (EDS) was supplied by Aesys, a new addition to the standard LAWO and Mobitec models of EDS units used on SMRT buses.

Interior Specifications:

Being a low-floor bus, SMB5888H offers step-free access from entry/exit doors until the last row of seats.

For seats, SMB5888H is fitted with Ster NewCity seats, in place of the more common Vogelsitze System 750/3 seats fitted to most buses in Singapore (excluding Citaro buses). Seat covers come in the standard blue, purple and red, the interior colour scheme of choice for SMRT.

Like the previously-introduced ADL Enviro500, the bus is equipped with a single wheelchair lot opposite the exit door, with a foldable seat built into the backrest. A manual wheelchair ramp is installed at the exit door.

SMB5888H takes many interior elements from the MAN A22 and A24 buses, such as the materials and/or design of entrance and exit doors (supplied by Masats), side panels, air-conditioning vents, stanchion poles, hand grips and so forth. This reflects the commonality of Gemilang-built buses to SMRT specifications.

The driver’s dashboard was laid out in the standard MAN dashboard configuration, similar to MAN A22 and A24 buses. Since the dashboard controls were not flipped for the right-hand-drive market, the dashboard layout of MAN A95 buses are identical to that in left-hand-drive markets, with lighting controls on the left, and door controls on the right.

Deployment

SMB5888H made its revenue service debut on Wednesday, 5 November 2014, regularly appearing on Service 190 (slot 190AP19), which also performs Short Trip Service 190A during the morning peak hours and a special departure from Orchard Road (YMCA) towards Choa Chu Kang at night. During its stint at Kranji, the bus appeared on numerous other services such as 61, 67, 106, 176, 188, 700/A, 868, 972, 983 and 985, in part due to overzealous dispatchers at Kranji Depot.

In 2016, SMB5888H was transferred to Ang Mo Kio Depot, where it was allocated to Service 169 from 2016 to 2018, and then redeployed to Service 854 since 2018.


Legacy

The trial of SMB5888H was ultimately successful, with SMRT initiating further purchases of the MAN A95 bodied by Gemilang Coachworks. A small batch of 16 buses were acquired by SMRT in 2015, with the Land Transport Authority making follow-up orders for several hundred more units in the subsequent years.

SMB5888H would be absorbed into the SMRT fleet alongside production batch buses that were largely similar in technical specifications. Its Aesys Libra Electronic Display Signs were replaced by a conventional Mobitec MobiLED unit in May 2016, in standardisation with the production batch MAN A95 buses.


Gallery:

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