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 B9TL. The article traces the history of SMRT double-decks from its first news to the roll out.
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.
A Brief History
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.
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.
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
|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|
|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||800, 804, 806, 807, 812||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|
|22 Apr 2018||980||3522B 5035C|
External Links & References:
- SMRT to get more than 100 double-decker buses – Straits Times
- Double Deckers among confirmed delivery of over 570 buses – SMRT