Training Buses are buses from various transport operators (SBS Transit, SMRT, Tower Transit & Go-Ahead Singapore) that have been delegated to driver training duties. Some Public Transport Operators (PTOs) choose to allocate a small number of buses specifically for full-time training use; however, regular service buses can also be used.
Driver training encompasses a few disciplines. In its most basic form, drivers are trained for the basic operation of buses before they can acquire their license. During the training phase, specialized training buses are used. These buses are usually modified from their revenue service counterparts, with additional L-plate holders (which indicates under instruction), safety cameras mounted on the bus exterior, additional driver assistance systems, and an additional seat fitted on the aisle beside the driver’s cab for the driving instructor. These additional features are not compulsory; ordinary revenue service buses can also be used as training buses when not deployed on the roads.
At the end of basic training, Bus Captains working for public bus companies receive an Omnibus Driver’s Vocational Licence, valid only while the holder is an omnibus driver employed by a Public Transport operator (namely SBS Transit Ltd, SMRT Buses Ltd, Tower Transit Singapore Pte Ltd or Go Ahead Loyang Pte Ltd).
Apart from basic training, bus and route familiarization may also utilize training buses. Firstly, for bus familiarization, Bus Captains require familiarization training before they can operate new bus models, and this form of training does not require specially-retrofitted training buses. As for SBS Transit and SMRT, Bus Captains who have had several years of rigid bus driving experience can also undergo training for the operation of double-deck and/or bendy buses, which require additional care while handling.
Next, route familiarization trains drivers on existing or new bus routes, ensuring that they are familiar with the route before the drivers can be assigned to revenue service. It can be conducted with or without the need for dedicated training buses. Sometimes, route familiarization can be conducted whilst on revenue service (with an accompanying member of staff).