SMRT Double-Deck Buses

SMRT Buses introduced its first double-deck buses in 2014. Following several purchases for more buses as well as the inception of the Bus Contracting Model, SMRT Buses currently operates a large fleet of double-deck buses, comprising ADL Enviro500, MAN A95 and Volvo B9TLThe article traces the history of SMRT double-decks from its first news to the roll out.


SMRT Press Release 2013
SMRT Press Release 2013

The first mention of SMRT’s double-deckers appeared in a press release dated 07 Nov 2013 (SMRT Introduces New Bus Captain Progressive Career Scheme). The role of a Senior Bus Captain 1 included double-decker in high capacity bus driving course, which hinted that SMRT was ready to train, or already training its own drivers for double-deck bus operations.

The first public mention of the double-decker buses appeared in The Straits Times on 07 Feb 2014 in a forum letter reply. SMRT’s Director for Media and Marketing Communications Alina Boey wrote:

“…we have procured a new batch of double-decker buses, which will be plying the roads alongside the articulated buses in the later part of this year.”

On 21 March 2014, SMRT announced its decision to acquire double-deck buses.  The Straits Times reported from a media preview of SMRT’s revamped “learning journey” on 20th March, where SMRT Buses vice-president Tan Kian Heong announced that the double-deckers will be deployed on longer routes from residential estates to the city.

The new double-deck buses first deployed on city-bound routes experiencing high demand, most notably Service 190. The move puts SMRT Buses on par with SBS Transit, which already operates double-deck buses islandwide previously.

Alexander Dennis Enviro500 (SMB5003U) – Service 190 with an advertisement wrap for SMRT Media

A Brief History

SMRT’s very first articulated bus, TIB838H (retired in 2013)

SMRT’s first high-capacity bus was acquired in 1996, when Trans-Island Bus Service (TIBS) introduced the Mercedes-Benz O405G articulated bus. The trial was successful, and over 300 more units were acquired between 1997 and 2004 in various models of bodywork. Most of these buses are still operating today, the bulk of SMRT’s high-capacity bus fleet. As these buses approach their 19-year service lifespan, newer buses must be introduced to replace them. The first batch of double-deck buses replaced some of these older buses.

With the purchase, SMRT is the second public bus operator to incorporate double-deck transit buses in its fleet after SBS Transit, which had double-deck buses since the SBS era. SBS also operated two articulated buses (SBS998Y and 999U), both of which have been retired after failing their trials.

Press Release (02 Apr 2014):

In a press release on 02 April 2014, SMRT confirmed the delivery of 201 ADL Double Deckers as part of an order of over 570 buses. This order included 332 MAN 12-metre buses and 40 MAN articulated buses as well, making it the largest fleet renewal and growth initiative by SMRT to date. 218 of these buses, including 116 double-deckers, were funded under the Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP).

The announcement of 201 ADL Double Deckers refer to the Enviro 500 New Generation by Alexander Dennis, also called the E500 MMC. Thesebuses were assembled in Zhuhai, China, and shipped completely-built-up to Singapore, with the exception of the first unit, SMB5001A, which was built in Scotland.

Another double-decker, the MAN Lion’s City DD or MAN A95, was brought in for evaluation purposes. The bus was registered as SMB5888H on 01 Oct 2014.

SMRT MAN A95 (SMB5888H) on Service 190
SMRT MAN A95 (SMB5888H) on Service 190, fitted with Aesys Libra EDS units

Double-decker bus rollout:

SMRT’s ADL Enviro500 MMC commenced revenue service on 13th July 2014, with three units being deployed on Service 972. According to SMRT, services 106, 188, 190, 850E, 951E, 960, 963, 966 and 969 would receive double-deck buses progressively over the following 3 months. Subsequently, double-decker buses were rolled out on bus services to replace retiring articulated buses.

Further Purchases

In 2015, a further purchase of sixteen Production Batch MAN A95s was initiated by SMRT Buses to increase its double-decker bus fleet, and in part due to the satisfactory trial of SMB5888H.

As part of the Bus Contracting Model, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) made several orders for more MAN A95 buses and ADL Enviro500 buses. Volvo B9TL buses were also allocated to SMRT Buses.

Debut Service Registration (SMBxxxx or SGxxxxx) Remarks
13 Jul 2014 972 3501L 3502J 3503G AP07 TQ01 TQ02
18 Aug 2014 106 3507X 3508T 3509R S190 S191 S192
190 3504D 3505B 3506Z AP90 S190 S191
850E 3511H 3512E S192 S193
966 3513C 3514A 3515Y AP90 S192 S193
969 3510K 3511H* 3512E* 969S190
850ES192* 850ES193*
15 Sep 2014 188 3522B 3523Z AP90 S190
700 3505B 3508T 3529H AP90 AP91 TBC
951E 3524X 3525T S192 S193
963 3520G 3521D 3524X* 3526R 3531A AP90 S190 S191 951ES192*
01 Oct 2014 169 3524X* 951ES913 (963 crossover)
28 Oct 2014 963E 5005P 963S157 (963 crossover)
17 Nov 2014 61 3546H 61S190
176 3552P 5014S 176S190, TBC
965 3530C 3531A 965AP90, 965S190
12 Jan 2015 187 3559X 187AP90
964 3556D 964AP90
15 Feb 2015 67 3534S 3557B
16 Feb 2015 960 3554J 3555G 3556D 5027B 5031M 960AP90, 960AP91, 960AP92, TBC
25 Apr 2015 983 3509R 3580H 5040L* * Special Run
26 Apr 2015 857 3550U 3581E
18 May 2015 856 3547E
15 Jun 2015 961 3581E 961AP07
13 Jul 2015 985 3591B 3592Z 3593X 985AP91, 985AP92, 985AP93
14 Jul 2015 172 5056S 172S107
11 Aug 2015 868 5054Y 5065R 868AM01, 868S101
16 Aug 2015 854 3605X
24 Aug 2015 171 5059J*

Recalled by OCC due to accidental deployment of Double Decker on non-approved service

969S151 (Crossover from 969)
05 Oct 2015 975 3534S 3569S Downroute Special Departures only; Crosses over from Service 972
12 Oct 2015 981 3608M 3609K 981S190, 981S191
26 Oct 2015 189 3517S 3518P 3522B 3582C
29 Oct 2015 911E 5068H*

Accidental deployment of Double Decker on non-approved service.

960S105 (Crossover from 960)
28 Dec 2015 979 3535P 3563H 979S101, 979S102
08 Jan 2016 858 5034E* Special midway departure towards Woodlands
09 Jan 2016 MRT Shuttle 5020U Kranji – Sembawang
12 Jan 2016 180 5037Y Crossover from Service 190
03 Mar 2016 302 5054Y

Accidental deployment of Double Decker on non-approved service.

67PM53 (Crossover from 67)
2017 300 Unknown Crossover from 190
12 Jan 2017 860  3607R, 5044B, 5060D, 5074P
10 Jul 2017 167 3608M
16 Jul 2017 806 5808S 5809P 5810J 5818M
23 Jul 2017 188R Unknown Did not enter RWS
10 Sep 2017 962 SG5169C SG5173P SG5582S
Oct 2017 800804806807812 Mixed models
14 Nov 2017 883 Enviro500
20 Nov 2017 656 Enviro500
8 Jan 2018 811 MAN A95
9 Apr 2018 900/A SG5872E
12 Apr 2018 184 SMB5025G
18 Apr 2018 901 SG5153Y
903 SG5418J
922 Enviro500
22 Apr 2018 980 3522B 5035C

Gallery:

A preview of SMRT's new livery on an ADL Enviro500NG diecast. 201 such units are expected to enter service in the next few years.
A preview of SMRT’s new livery on an ADL Enviro500NG. 201 such units are expected to enter service in the next few years. Link
ADL Enviro500 MMC in Hong Kong
ADL Enviro500NG in Hong Kong (Coach configuration). Operated by Citybus Ltd.
MAN Lion's City DD in Berlin, Germany
MAN Lion’s City DD in Germany. Operated by Berlin Transport Company (Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe). Link
Article on 联合早报, published 3rd April 2014
Article on 联合早报, published 3rd April 2014
SMRT Delegation and the ADL team. Image first appeared on hkitalk.net
SMRT Delegation and the ADL team. Image first appeared on hkitalk.net

SMRT ADL E500MMC:

Gallery:

 

External Links & References:

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