– Mercedes-Benz O405G (Hispano Habit)
– Mercedes-Benz O405G
The Mercedes-Benz O405G (Hispano Carrocera Habit) is the third generation of Mercedes-Benz O405G articulated buses acquired by Trans-Island Bus Services (TIBS), the predecessor of SMRT Buses.
Featuring an all-new exterior design by renowned Italian design company Pininfarina, the O405G Hispano Habit buses bear similar technical specifications and interior configurations as compared to the earlier Hispano Mark I & II buses and later Volgren-bodied units. The design of the Hispano Habit was iconic, and soon became TIBS’s flagship bendy bus, as well as being the most common on the roads.
However, one Hispano Habit bus stands out with its roof-mounted air-conditioning pods and unique interior colours. TIB1105H was severely burnt in a fire, but owing to the efforts of SMRT Buses’ maintenance workers, the bus was given a new lease of life and returned to revenue service after two years. This article documents TIB1105H, the Rebuilt Hispano Habit.
On 20 August 2008, at around 6:18am, TIB1105H was deadheading from Woodlands Bus Depot towards Boon Lay Bus Interchange (without passengers) to perform a trip of Service 187. Along Marsiling Lane, near the junction of Admiralty Road, the bus driver noticed smoke coming out of the engine. When he stopped the bus, the engine was already on fire. The driver attempted to put out the fire with the onboard fire extinguisher but to no avail.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force was activated to put out the fire. The rear portion of the bus was reduced to its bare skeleton, with its glass panels shattered due to the high heat, and much of its interior fixtures melted, leaving only the bare skeleton remaining. Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident. The incident was featured in the news.
Despite the fire damage, enough of the chassis survived the accident. The bus was subsequently deregistered and underwent a two-year period of absence where it was rebuilt from scratch, with the efforts of SMRT’s maintenance team and engineers from Mercedes-Benz.
On 23 August 2010, TIB1105H was back on the roads, appearing on Service 962.
Much of the bus was rebuilt with new parts, bearing a resemblance to SMRT’s OC500LEs, and red/purple leather seats were used, identical to the ones found on early refurbished Mercedes-Benz O405s. Two Konvekta air-conditioning pods were mounted on the roof, and a new set of LAWO BENEFIT EDS units (of an orange LED matrix design) made it the most unique Hispano Habit on the roads.
|Basic Technical Specifications|
|Engine||Mercedes-Benz OM 447 hLA engine
Inline 6-cylinder turbocharged, 11967 cc, Euro I
Power/Torque rating of 299 hp (220 kW) @ 2200 rpm / 1250 Nm @ 1000 – 1300 rpm
|Transmission||ZF Ecomat 4HP 590 gearbox, four-speed automatic|
|Bodywork||Hispano Carrocera Habit Bodywork
Chassis produced in Germany. Bodywork supplied by Hispano Carrocera of Spain.
|EDS||LAWO BENEFIT Electronic Display Signage (EDS)
Orange LED Matrix design
Double-leaf doors for entrance, double plug doors for both exits
|Capacity||Licensed capacity of 149 passengers:
59 seating and 90 standing passengers
TIB1105H’s defining feature is its two air-conditioning pods on the roof, supplied by Konvekta. They are similar to the air-conditioning pods used on the Mercedes-Benz OC500LE buses, which made their debut in Year 2008. The Mercedes-Benz O405G buses were originally configured with underfloor air-conditioning units.
The bus is fitted with a set of Electronic Display Signages (EDS) supplied by LAWO BENEFIT, similar to those used on the Mercedes-Benz OC500LE buses. They are of the Orange LED Matrix type, installed at the front, side and rear of the bus.
The interior of the bus has two cabins permanently joined by an articulation unit. The bus seats four-abreast with a central aisle running the length of the bus. Grab poles and round hand grips are located on both sides of the aisle, with additional handrails at the standing area, or stanchion poles near the exits or articulation unit. All seats also have hand grips to provide commuters with additional support.
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.
Air-conditioning ducts and roof panelling were made of beige-coloured glossy plastic, very similar to that used on Mercedes-Benz OC500LE buses. Polished metal handlebars and stanchion poles replaced the orange-painted ones installed on other Mercedes-Benz O405G buses, although the round plastic handgrips were retained.
The bus is fitted with Vogelsitze System 750/3 seats with purple and red synthetic fabric seat cover, also used on the early batch of Mercedes-Benz O405 that underwent refurbishment. Bell pushes throughout the bus are also of a more modern design. The first-generation Passenger Information System (PIS) was retained.
The rear cabin only has front-facing seats and a third exit door, and the last row of the bus has five seats. Additionally, a “Bus Stopping” light indicator was fitted on the roof.
Finally, the articulation unit consists of a turntable platform with two hinges in the middle, allowing for both pitch and yaw motion. Folding bellows help weatherproof the articulation unit. A single stanchion pole is also installed in the middle for additional support.
TIB1105H was originally registered on 22 December 2000. Despite having been refurbished as a result of the fire and its long absence from the roads, TIB1105H was expected to be deregistered on 21 December 2017 at the end of its 17-year statutory lifespan with no extension. However, it was abruptly extended by one year, with a new deregistration date of 21 December 2018.
SMRT’s Mercedes-Benz O405G (Hispano Habit) buses, though refurbished, were actively being phased out at the end of their 17-year lifespan as the Bus Contracting Model (BCM) was actively taking in new MAN A95 double-deck buses to replace them. However, some buses abruptly received a one-year lifespan extension, possibly to compensate for deployment flexibility after LTA transfers a small batch of articulated buses to the Seletar Bus Package. LTA could also be stabilizing the number of articulated buses on the roads before bringing in new articulated buses to replace them.
TIB1105H was retired in late 2018 and scrapped in November that year.