Sunday, August 29, 2010

Posts from the pasts

Transferred the old buses-related postings from my personal blog over to this dedicated blog, =)

A review of the SBST Scania K230UB and SMRT Mercedes-Benz OC500LE [Part 3]

Well, it’s been quite awhile and its time to wrap up.
The Scania K230UB and the OC500LE are rivals to each other given the similarities that they share and the time period that they actually came in (quite literally together).

The 900 Scania K230UB seens to redefines buses towards the generic term of bus, that is a “just another bus: ferrying passengers from A to B”. Overall, the 900 Scanias seems to have lost the passion,soul and excitement in being new buses. The general feel of the K230UBs is that the buses are built for the sake of their purpose and bland, not much ‘oomph’ or ‘wow’ injected into their lifeblood to attract passengers to board with the bodywork and interior. Though the Euro EEV version does inject a bit more oomph with more comfort,more seats and a slightly different interior/exterior. In fact it seems like to save cost the designers just went with the simplest and most effective design regardless of how it looks to reduce manufacturing cost since it’s 900 buses.

The montonous radiator sound that every single KUB is irritating –> get a radio or a mp3 player for any trip upon this bus.

The conclusion that i can give to the Scania K230UBs is that they are generally boring, not because of there are 900 of them running down the road, but even a single unit of the bus, the interior’s colour choice and exterior is enough to feel “huh…its this bus again”, instead of “oh yea, it’s this bus again!” Yea, though opinions may vary.

The Scania K230UB have their own good points though, some buses at a few depots like HGDEP they aren’t really bad. The first use of Electronic Destination Signage fleet wide to ease the loading of destination to the destination area for the bus captain, a fleet of Euro IV/EEV environmentally friendly buses and moving towards easy accessibility for everyone.

On the other hand, it is the OC500LEs that redefines the new age of buses. This is the bus that feels that it is made not just for the purpose of moving people from one end to another, but to move them in style and comfort. The moment you see this bus arriving you know you’ll be in for a treat, standing or seating.

There is the excitement whenever you see an OC500LE on the road. A comfortable journey awaits you upon boarding with a luxurious interior and comfortable seats, though i might hope that the cushions are a little bit thicker and hopefully reconfigure it to one wheelchair bay.  Nuff’ said, it’s better to take it yourself and feel it because some portion of the OC is so good that i can’t find the words to describe them.


Towards the future – A PIW/Low floor/easy accessiblity.

As the old buses starts to retire the Scania K230UB and the OC500LEs are brought in to replace them. I believe that the next target for both companies will be to aim for 100% accessibility for all passengers, so we can look forward to more exciting buses being brought in to serve the commuters with more comfort.Also of one point of interest is wether if SBST/SMRT will consider fully low floor buses instead of low entry buses like the Scania or the OC.Of course, even if the new buses are bodied by Gemilang, i believe everyone will wish to see improvements too. And besides, we’ve never had Malaysian bodywork before! :D

A review of the SBST Scania K230UB and SMRT Mercedes-Benz OC500LE [Part 2]

Part 1 focused on the Scania K230UB by SBS Transit

Now for Part 2 it will focus on ‘rival’ of the Scania K230UB, the Mercedes Benz OC500LE by SMRT. As mentioned in Part 1 it is also bodied by Gemilang, is environmentally friendly and also introduces revolutionary firsts in Singapore’s public transport.

So how does the OC500LE fare?

SMRT Buses – Mercedes-Benz OC500LE – Euro V

The demonstrator (SMB1H) [top] and the production version [bottom]

The OC500LE marks many firsts for SMRT Buses.
  • first bulk purchase of buses since the formation of SMRT Buses after rebranding TIBS with its parent company SMRT.
  • marks the start new registration range that starts with the prefix SMB (SMRT Buses) from SMB1H, discontinuing the TIB registration range at TIB1257C (a UMW Dennis Lance)
  • the first (or F1RST on the SMB1H’s advertisement)  Euro V bus in Southeast Asia at the time of its introduction last year when the SBST Euro IV Scanias were still being delivered.
  • the first Wheelchair Accessible buses in SMRT’s fleet
  • the first buses to use Orange LAWO LED Electronic Destination Signage (EDS) for better visibility (previous TIBS buses used Green Flip Dot EDSs).
  • the first public buses in Singapore to utilise voice announcements similar to that of their SMRT Trains counterpart, such as “Thank You for travelling with SMRT Buses.” and “Doors are Closing”.
I was delighted when i heard that SMRT Buses had continued on with the tradition of Mercedes-Benz buses, which comprises the main bulk of TIBS fleet; although i was a little bit disappointed that SMRT went with Gemilang bodywork instead of TIBS’s favored Hispano Carrocera bodywork. Given the impressions i had with Gemilang bodied Euro IV Scanias from SBST (read : “brittle and cheap feel”), i wasn’t optimistic of Gemilang bodyworks.

To be honest, i did half expect the OC500LE to vibrate the Gemilang bodywork even though Mercedes Benz buses aren’t known for any earth shattering vibration buses given my experiences with majority of the SBST/TIBS fleet of O405s. I also recalled the cheap and boring interior/exterior of the Scania K230UB and gotta say i’m half excited yet half suspicious if this Gemilang-bodied OC500LE’s gonna have the flaws of the Gemilang-Scania? Cue the buzzer once again, i was wrong.

My first trip on board an OC500LE was on 189 on a trip home from Clementi MRT. The bus’s exterior looks modern, attractive and new from the front to the rear and the moment i stepped in, the bus seems rather luxurious. Sliver grab poles, whitish-grey interior, Vogelsitzes that reflect the company’s colours, the flooring and even the interior design (add on a nice new bus smell). As the bus moved off, i realised something : I’m actually getting getting excited to be in a comfortable and attractive bus! Though it’s kind of a pity there’s only 132 buses purchased.
Exterior design/bodywork
  • Front
    • When the bus was first announced at the Go Green with SMRT at NUS , there were many mixed comments on the front of the bus.
      • The big Mercedes Logo resembles the O305 double decker buses by SBST in the past
      • The black area behind the Merc logo looks like a jet intake
      • It’s a copycat of the SMRT’s Volgren Mercedes front
      • It’s a Citaro (literally) instead of an OC500LE
    • It’s actually a licensed Mercedes Capacity front.
    • As expected from Mercedes, the front is pretty attractive. it isn’t a full Capacity front because of the black area that’s replaced with an SMRT logo. Doesn’t detract much though but I'll find it looks weirder if the black’s there. Also, because of the difference in height of the real CapaCity and the Gemilang bodied bus, the front windscreen’s kinda large and the front flattened to the body…^^;. Add on the bumper foglight, i believe a first in any public buses, makes it look pretty stylish. It is also complimented by the broad wipers.
    • The Konvekta aircon pod – looks fitting for a citybus.
    • Continuing the tradition for TIBS, the LAWO EDS is using the font that’s used with previous TIBS Buses, which is actually quite nice and having a good reputation for visibility. Fixing up one of the complaints by passengers, SMRT moved the route number to the right for easier visibility if the OC is hidden behind any buses. And it doesn't really appear as a blob of light from far (can at least see there’s numbers on the right and words on the left.)
    • On the whole, the front’s attractive! though the windscreen’s look too big too big if you get too close to the bus, like if the bus is not really proportionate. Well, who can resist a Mercedes front?
  • Side
    • With the black areas defining the interior walls as the rear half of the bus is not low floor, unlike the sides of the Scania K230UB which seems pretty natural, the OC500LE’s side walls look like as if they pop out of nowhere (although in my opinion if the black’s lowered it’ll probably look nicer). The black areas end at the rear with a stylish signature of |\_ due to the rear row of seat’s being angled.
    • The side indicators are all using LED bulbs for better visibility,continuing the tradition of TIBS
  • Rear
    • The rear’s black area that curves nicely towards the grille at the engine cover is a nice touch, though it does give the impression of the rear as a bit of a feminine touch due to the bumper that’s integrated to the bodywork, and the curve. The tail lights and the third brake light all seems to be inspired (or inherited) from the O405G Hispano Habit’s rear lights.
    • It looks Wright-inspired.
  • Overall, the bodywork design seems to be actually fully thought out, looks any Mercedes bus, pretty attractive and eye-catching. It also follows the TIBS tradition of European-styled buses and being different. The bodywork does not need to try very hard to turn heads.

  • The interior’s mostly greyish-white,with tan-orange side walls and complimented by the sliver grab poles make the interior of the bus looks luxurious. Yellow priority seats, with red and black seats that reflects the company colours.
  • The designers probably took another page off the Hispano Habit’s interior, with the curved-in aircon ducts and Hispano Habit-like aircon vents. It seems that this time round the designers put actual efforts into creating an interior with substance.
  • The bus stopping lights are inherited from TIBS buses, one at the front, one at the middle. For better visibility they are now red in colour.
  • The Next-Stop LED panel is absent from the OCs, though i believe one day they’ll be installed ~.
  • As expected from Konvekta.Cooling air, though also at the rear it’ll be a bit warm and stuffy for the middle seat.
  • The priority seats passengers may not be able to adjust the aircon vents, while the rear half of the seats, the passengers seating nearer to the aisle do not have an aircon vent to adjust, having the aircon blown directly to them.

  • This is where this bus really shines!
  • Yellow, red and black Vogelsitzes compliment the interior, and the material for the seat cover’s quite luxurious and comfortable. The material also traps heat abit slower so for a long journey you can actually seat there and fall asleep comfortably. The cushions though are thinner than expected. A comparison of the thickness can be found on the O405G Habits/Volgren (with the same Vogelsitze design).
  • Legroom for the priority seats seems quite little, though still quite comfortable for the rest of the seats.
  • There is very little vibrations, if any and they’re pretty tolerable.
  • The bus is actually a CBU (completely built up) bus and therefore the assembling is done overseas, continuing the TIBS tradition that CBU buses have better quality. The interior is pretty sturdy, no feeling of cheapness and well-designed.
  • Also inheriting from TIBS, the engine noise insulation found in coaches. When the bus stops at a red light, the interior’s very quiet, you can barely hear the engine idling (instead all you’re hearing is the aircon filter working). And when the bus is moving off, i actually struggled to hear the barely audible engine and gearbox changing.
  • little to no jerking, very smooth ride.
  • Though sometimes the voice announcements seems to be irritating to hear at first, sooner or later it’ll get used to as being part of SMRT.
  • Super smooth on highways, feels like you’re floating down the highway when the bus speeds at 6th gear and quiet.whenever it goes over bumps the interior doesn't rattle and crack. Quick acceleration and deceleration.

The 2nd batch OC500LE
Exterior design/bodywork
  • Unlike the Scania K230UB IV/EEV batch, the OC500LE only has a few minor difference at the front, and the rear wheel hub is a bit different.
    • The front windscreen has a blue tint below the EDS to reduce glare from the sun ; given the windscreen’s so big, and sun being low can cause discomfort for passengers and drivers alike.
    • the driver’s side wing mirror also have the yellow warning stickers

  • Instead of having the difference in the exterior, the main difference in the batch 2 is the interior.
    • the most obvious difference when viewing from the outside is the new blue/purple seats.
    • From the entrance, when you look up – Welcome aboard SMRT Buses, turn right after tapping ez-link – the rear SMRT logo and the seatbelt logo for the middle seat, once seated, there’s another SMRT logo in front. Before you alight, look up – Thank you for travelling with SMRT
    • The rear row of seats now have more grab poles for standing passengers. Also it have a 4 instead of 2 aircon outlets at the rear row to provide more cool air to the rear rows of seats as the engine is directly below them and the heat can make the passengers seating there stuffy.
  • though i feel they can squeeze more seating they remove one PIW bay for additional 2-4 more seats
  • Check out the interior of the batch 2 at
  • Same as batch 1. Comfortable for all rows now, though the adjustment of the aircon for outer seats still remain.

  • More or less the same as the batch 1 OC500LEs, apart from the extra aircon ducts at the rear rows of seats. Also the seats which are now blue and purple.And as the saying goes, appearance is only skin deep. The seats are now of a new material cover and provides an additional degree of comfort as compared to the batch 1s. The cushion’s still not thick though.
  • Same as the first batch.
So there’s the second part of the review focusing on the OC500LE first and second batch. Both batches are the same, and the thing that the batch 2 improves on is the passenger comfort and more uniform experience when travelling on SMRT Buses/Trains/Taxis. Currently like the Scania EEV buses, the second batch’s delieveries are ongoing, and it sets a new standard for travelling in public transport.

The Mercedes Benz OC500LE gets 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Next up – Conclusions!

A review of the SBST Scania K230UB and SMRT Mercedes-Benz OC500LE [Part 1]

As the Scania Euro V batch and the Mercedes Benz OC500LE’s 2nd batch starts rolling in, both variants sporting their own improvements over their predecessors.

The two new types of single deck buses that are currently on the roads ->
  • Swedish breed – Scania K230UB brought in by SBS Transit.
  • Germany breed – Mercedes Benz OC500LE brought in by SMRT Buses
Both buses share similar features that can rival each other.
  • are bodied by the Gemilang, a Malaysian coachwork company.
  • are wheelchair accessible buses (with manual ramps)
  • both are environmentally friendly buses
  • both introduces revolutionary firsts in Singapore’s public transport.
So how do they fare?

Part 1 focuses on the Scania K230UB.

Scania K230UB – SBS Transit – Euro IV & V

EURO IV version

The Euro IV version (demonstrator SBS8033D [top] and the production version [bottom]).

When i first saw the 1st batch Euro IV version of the bus i felt that it’s a modern looking and  a step forward to a better public transportation. It boasted a few firsts for SBS Transit, such as
  • the first Euro IV public buses (after the Euro III B9TL),
  • the first Single Deck buses featuring Wheelchair Accessibility for Passengers In Wheelchairs (PIW) and the
  • first buses fleet to feature Electronic Destination Signage (EDS) by Coolair.

Cue the buzzer, im quite wrong. i still remember my first trip to Orchard Road on one of the Scania K230 on service 174 in Nov 2007 (hint : 1 of the first few buses deployed on 100/174 on their first revenue service). Stepping into the inside of the bus, the whole bus was vibrating quite badly. And for the whole ride it wasn’t quite exactly comfortable. Jerky, braking hard, Osim-level massaging chairs with hard cushion that can rival the bucket seats the retiring SMRT Scania Elbos and hearing the windows and panel’s rattling. I was pretty surprised. Are these the buses that’s going to replace our aging public buses?
Exterior design/bodywork
  • Front
    • A modified licensed Scania front, and the first thing that catches the attention of any passengers is the Electronic Destination Signage or EDS. Supplied by Coolair, it moves SBS Transit away from the era of traditional plastic destination signage. From afar, one can at most see a blob of orange light till the bus nears the bus stop, and given the small font size it’s actually quite hard to see the destination/route number before the bus arrives at the bus stop.
    • Resembles the smiley face, similar to the B9TL’s smiley face concept, with broad wipers and black accentuating the Scania’s modern looking front.
    • from the front you can also see the modern-looking rake-like air intake of the aircon pod.
    • On the whole, the front looks quite nice but can be a bit boring once you see the 500 buses having the same front.
  • Side
    • With the black areas defining the interior walls as the rear half of the bus is not low floor. The rear row of seats is very high due to the engine and it’s pretty small window there. It looks like a truck carrying the cargo at the back. The left of the bus has the Coolair EDS at the left bottom. Nothing too inspiring, just a typical design off the shelf with big Alcoa rims.
  • Rear
    • It’s trying hard just to be Scania-ish by reminding us it’s a Scania with the grey “Scania” strip like the big Scania grey area at the front. The rear EDS is located on the left, and the rear window being small and a “coach-like” rear design. It’s not exactly attractive. Add on the big round rear lights and the right signal light that juts out quite offensively. Oh well….
  • Overall the bus looks quite nice from the front and side. Forget about looking the rear.
  • The interior is mostly brown and the colour is bland, dull, uninspiring and boring. though opinions may vary. Add on the the design of the aircon duct channels; they’re are pretty simplistic and cheap and seems like they are there to just serve its function of channeling cold air from the air conditioner,Slap in the purple grab poles which honestly was a good idea to reflect the company colours together with the red seats, but the brown simply spoils everything. ‘Nuff said, the best is to look out of the window and the scenery instead of looking inside the bus.
  • Comfortable, cooling and nice. Apart from the last row of seats which may or may not be abit stuffy depending on the aircon and the engine below them. The passenger’s at the low floor area seats may not be able to adjust the aircon outlet because it’s situated quite high.

  • Red and Yellow Vogelsitzes complement the interior.The choice of material cover isn’t a good one. If you are to be sitting on the seat for a long trip, say 51, be prepared to move around for another cold seat as the material traps heat quite readily, and the cushion of the seats aren’t thick enough, making a long ride uncomfortable.
  • Legroom’s quite large for most seats. So a plus there.
  • Scanias are quite well known for their vibrations in Singapore (partially stemming from their older brothers in SMRT, the L113CRLs. The measurement of how successful the bus is in the areas of comfort for the passengers.The Euro IV batch vibrates very little to mildly only after they fixed the intolerable vibrations in the subsequent batches (and it continues to vibrate quite hard though more tolerable now). But the vibrations simply shouldn’t be so much as to cause discomfort to them.
  • In fact you get the feeling of the bodywork’s cheapness and almost no sturdiness as it vibrates, overhead panels rattle, the poles are rattling when the bus goes over minor road bumps.
  • It’s a bit of a jerky ride when the bus accelerates and decelerates so one can say it’s not really that smooth though this shouldn’t be a problem as the bus gets worn in.
  • The radiator’s droning……make it stop! The engine noise sounds much better!
  • Rather smooth on highways and roads, but any tiny bumps can cause the interior to shake badly and the grab poles on the low floor area seems to be giving way to breaking at any moment. Quick acceleration and deceleration with its 6 speed gearbox
Well, the Euro IV buses are the first 500 of the 900 Scanias ordered and it had alot of problems that makes the journey rather unpleasant. How will the Euro EEV fare?


The Euro EEV version

When i first saw the Euro EEV version of the Scania i was a little bit skeptical about it given the experiences i had with the Euro IV buses. Hearing that they fixed the problems, i took a ride on one of the Euro EEV with the other bus fans. To be exact, this should be the Scania K230UB version that should be running on the roads!
Exterior design/bodywork
  • Front
    • A slightly different front look this time round compared to the Euro IVs. A bigger EDS that’s by Hanover (and more camera friendly), with a bigger font and bigger terminating destination shown. It’s actually much more clearer from a distance
    • The grey area’s rounded at the edges in instead of streamlined to with the front.
    • The wing mirrors are now bigger, and contains two mirrors to provide the Bus Captain with a wider range of view.
    • The aircon pod’s different, and fits the style of a citybus.
    • On the whole, the front looks quite nice but can be a bit boring once you see the 400 buses having the same front.
  • Side
    • Same as the Euro IV apart from the Hanover EDS on the left side that’s placed at the top of the for seating just right after the front door above the left wheel hub.
  • Rear
    • looks more natural now as the grey strip is closer to the window,effectively making it a streamlined design, giving it a more smooth curve. Though the coach-like rear is still there ^^;
  • Overall, the front and rear looks better than the Euro IV version.

  • More seats and a different configuration for the grab poles at the front of the bus, The brown colour interior/design is carried over from the Euro IV version. Overall, refreshing interior configuration but still bland, dull and uninspiring design for the interior including the panels at the aircon duct.
  • One of the chief complaints about the Euro IV version is the number of seats. For the Euro EEV version there is an increase in the number of seats though not by so many (from 30 to 34) seating passengers in exchange for 1 wheelchair bay. The seats above the wheel hubs are now integrated with the interior fittings instead of dumping a seat above the right wheel hub like the Euro IV batch 2. Other than that, nothing about the seats themselves changed.
  • Same as Euro IV version. Comfortable but the problem of the air-conditioning at the rear row still remains.

  • Red and Yellow Vogelsitzes complement the interior with the same material and same story from the Euro IV version.
  • Surprisingly, very little vibration from the Euro IV batch. It actually makes the bus more comfortable to ride.
  • The radiator’s droning……make it stop! The engine noise sounds much better!
  • Bodywork feels more solidly built now.
  • Not much jerking, pretty much smoother!
  • Smoother when it changes gears, less jerky. retains most of the performance characteristics of the Euro IV batch.
So there you have it, part 1 covering the Scania Euro IV/Euro EEV batch. The Euro EEV batch is a sure improvement over the Euro IV. And the standard should be where the Euro EEV buses are, not the Euro IV buses.The 500 Euro IVs are all delievered and the Euro EEV batch’s deliveries are ongoing. Most of the problems of the Euro IV have been rectified in the Euro EEV version.

The Euro IV version gets 2 out of 5 stars
The Euro EEV version gets 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Next up – The OC500LE’s review!

SMRT’s Yutong ZK6126HGC

Some history

Months ago in China, there laid a bus lying in a Yutong plant, awaiting shipment to Singapore to SMRT Buses. Most of the bus fans and forum visitors thought that the bus is photoshopped with the livery of SMRT. But as discussions when on, all of us discovered that there are ezlink equipments installed, and that Yutong does LHD buses for export market. More confirmations that the bus arrived in Singapore soon crushed the speculations that the picture is photoshopped.

From then the waiting game started – from Feb till now,the bus was spotted with trade plate in the west and some depots but somehow no one managed to catch a pic, adding to the already mysterious yet alluring sense that this is gonna be the first ever public bus that’s from a China coach manufacturer, and the front of the bus was never revealed in the forum at all, till today, though previews of the front was sort of hinted at.

Till it was revealed to be registered a few days ago as “SMB135E”

And you can imagine the suprising reaction of the public and SLs alike when they saw this odd looking, unique yet new bus with the logo [中国宇通] from the side and the back.

How does this F1RST MIC public bus fare?

This Yutong ZK introduces more F1RSTs for SMRT Buses.
  • F1RST China public bus to be on revenue service
  • F1RST to use a set of similar front/side/rear EDS that shows synchronised route information. Previous SMRT Buses uses a Main EDS with route info, and smaller side/rear EDS displaying only the route number.
  • F1RST public bus not to have an adjustable aircon outlet. Read more about it under “Aircon”.
  • F1RST public bus to use rim covers for the rims.
  • F1RST public bus to ever have a seatbelt for the Bus Captain.
First day on revenue service on 854 – Bedok/Yishun.

I never got a chance to take any MIC public buses or coaches till the recent introduction of this Yutong bus. There was also the stereotype that MIC buses are cheap, sucks in quality etc etc, and there must be a special reason why SMRT Buses actually accepted this demo unit from Yutong. Searching Yutong’s website it’s actually quite a good company that is the largest bus manufacturers in China.
Exterior design/bodywork
  • The front looks unique for a citybus, and probably because the design is not like the usual European-styled citybuses it attracted quite a bit of attention on its maiden day, and it reminds of one of the Volgren Hino demo (TIB905Y) Though one have to get used to the looks of this bus.
The headlight/bumper area
  • The side of the bus does follow the SMRT’s recent configuration (Entrance, two windows, Exit doors). And the side is similar to the Hispano Habit, minus the tinted windows. The Yutong badge is displayed prominently beside the entrance door to let passengers know this is a YUTONG [中国宇通] bus. The side EDS, for the first in SMRT Buses, displays the route info together with the route number.
P8200071 The Yutong’s front and side.
  • Rear of the bus looks nice, though one can be reminded of the O405 Hispano/OC500LE Gemilang’s rear and it does not have a third brake light. Also, the route details and route number is also displayed prominently on the top, also a first in public buses to give passengers seeing the bus from the rear more info about the route/direction it travels.
P8200072 The rear

Hopper Windows.
Overall, this bus’s design seems inspired by several buses, the Volgren Hino (front), the Hispano Habit (side), and OC500LE Gemilang/O405 Hispano (rear) and the UMW Dennis Lance though it blends a touch of China buses look.
  • If you’ve taken the recently introduced Scania K230UB or the OC500LE, the interior configuration should not be too much of a suprise. It has the interior styling of the OC500LE combined with the seating arrangement for the OC500LE/Scania K230UB.
P8200051 The interior, viewed from back
P8200059 Priority seats
PIW Wheelchair area
Exit door/Wheelchair ramp
Bus Stopping
Doors Closing sign
The rear door’s mechanism hidden beneath the bus, unlike other plug door buses in Singapore which more of the plug door’s mechanism can be seen.
  • If you’re wondering where’s the adjustable aircon outlet, the green aircon vents are the answer. From ball/eye type to a single vent type (Habit/OC) then to this vents. Unless you seat at the rear row of seats. More trainset influences in this bus (On SMRT Trains, you can’t adjust the aircon flow either).
P8200052 Aircon ducts. Yes, those tiny holes. SMRT forgot that we’d like to adjust the aircon flow in buses, unlike sharing a huge aircon system in their trainsets.

P8200054 Though the rear row of seats have these ball type vents.

Though i have to say, thanks to the various tiny holes, the aircon did not come out as strong though it was still quite cooling.
  • The China type seats, probably inspired from Volgelsitze and having a brown/red leather combo cover for the cushion. Though the seats feel pretty comfortable.
P8200075 Above the rear wheel hub there’s a flat area for the foot of the person to rest, no irritating arch to bend the foot on.
Overall, the bus is pretty comfortable, apart from the slightly noisier interior when the engine idles. And when the bus opens and closes, there is a long loud beep tone when the doors open and close. And for the rear doors, it opens very nosily, though i believe AMDEP will fix that up with Yutong. The starting off/idling can feel like you’re actually on a coach, and also, ergonomic wise, the interior compartments like the ticketing machine and the rear door left ez-link card reader is mounted too high for some people to tap their cards.
The vibration of the engine can be felt mostly at the rear rows of seats, but it is rather tolerable.
Apart from the slower pickup and the slight difficulty in reaching the top gear (max speed 60kmph), the performance is pretty good at the moment.
Overall, this bus gets a 7 out of 10 and there are rooms for this bus to be improved on. But it is a very impressive MIC product apart from some obvious minor flaws to it (like the rear doors opening) and design flaws (the aircon ducts are missing!). And the bus is pretty noisy in the interior sometimes.I believe SMRT’s starting to really make their buses department more and more like the experience on trains (after voice announcements, they have none-adjustable aircon ducts like the ones on the trains).

Also debunking the myths that China products is low-quality cheap copycats, this Yutong has surpassed my initial expectations in regards to the build quality. The bus feels pretty solid and well built. And given similar Yutong buses are being used in several countries, including mainland China, it’s a really good alternative over the traditional western chassis/buses.
Misc stuffs to note about this bus.
P8200070 The Yutong badge.
With warning signs to alert you not to hit your head.

P8200061 The PIW bell now faces down/sideways due to the original PIW design having more accidental presses when it is faced upwards.
Speakers, 8 of them in the bus for a yet unknown purpose
The noisy door system as of 20th August 2009. Yea, very noisy when it opens.
No Standing On Steps on a floor/zero step entrance to exit bus. Weird
The reverse view camera.
Rear rim covers, the PIW button and the fuel tank cover.

The logo on the window - Yutong Coach
The fire extinguisher compartment above the right wheel hub.

**Update on 06/05/2011 : The bus has since been rejected and is now with Bedok Transport

Farewell Scania L113CRL ELBO

Since its introduction in 1996 after the 50 WA-bodied L113CRL cousins, the ELBO fleet can be considered a successful failure throughout the 13 years journey it had before its retirement. It had quite a number of firsts for its time at its introduction.
  • Being the first zero low entrance bus. The WA bodied L113CRLs had a step for the entrance due to the underfloor air conditioning.
  • Being the first buses to use Arianne bucket seats instead of the usual Volgelsitze Being the first in the fleet to use Mobitec EDS instead of the usual LAWO EDSes. Bodied by Greek's ELBO bodywork.
  • One of the first in the then-TIBS fleet to have internal parallel lighting.
This fleet of 15 buses however, soon gained notoriety for being one of the most uncomfortable buses ever in SMRT's fleet , having a dirty/dusty interior, uncomfortable seats and vibrations and hot and stuffy aircon after their conversion to converted air-conditioned (CAC) buses.. This led to several complaints to SMRT about this bus type, and led to the eventual refurbishment of TIB848D which was one of the dirtiest. And the lack of spare parts led to the eventual demise of this unique bus type as it got harder to maintain them. Finally the decision came to phase them out and replace them and the outgoing Nissan Diesel buses with new Mercedes-Benz OC500LEs wheelchair accessible buses.

Over the years, this bus type gained various nicknames as well
  • OSIM massager bus (reference to the vibrations of the Scania engines)
  • Sauna ( reference to the stuffy air conditioner)
And humourously it was suggested that the ELBO be converted to a wheelchair accessible bus given the front zero step entrance design.
This bus will be remembered fondly for playing an important part in the accessibility of buses.
Here are some pictures from the recently-organised ELBO farewell tour. The star of the tour, TIB837K which is one of the last surviving ELBOs in the SMRT fleet.

The aircon outlets are small, and the airconditioner was not powerful enough, hence contributing to the stuffiness of most of the ELBOs
The driver's dashboard.

The front of the ELBO. It does bear a striking resemblance to its Hispano O405 cousins.

The unique aircon duct shape.

The unique Arianne bucket seats.

The exit door and ducts.

Demonstrating the low floor zero step entrance, hence the L113CRL - the L in the CRL denotes low entry.

The engine.

One of the vents of the air intake system used when the bus was in its NAC days to draw in fresh air from the outside when the windows are closed due to rain.

The side EDS

Sharing the same components as the other buses in the SMRT fleet, headlights and signal covers

Part of the 3 piece windscreen modification that the ELBO recieved. Selected buses in the SMRT fleet also has the modified windscreen. Fungi is growing at the corners of the windscreen.

The emergency exit located at the middle of the bus. Oddly, the door seems smaller as compared to other emergency exit doors of the other buses in SMRT's fleet.

A newer generation of bell buzzer used in the OCs found its way in the ELBO (top). The ELBO originally uses the old -SBS black and red type of buzzer (bottom)
The yellow strip bell buzzer has been phased out in new buses in favour of the buzzer buttons.

The unique ELBO "glass cockpit" that separates the driver's cabin from the passenger's cabin.


The unique style of grab pole being bolted to the roof of the cabin.

The front of the bus.

The exit door has a step.

The Mobitec controller and the VID plate.

Door switch console.

To access the driver's cabin, one has to climb up two steps.

The worn out interior and 3 piece windscreen modification

Farecard validator.

Probably the predecessor to the OC500LE's flat resting area over the rear wheels, there's no irritating wheel arch that the feets will have to rest on in the ELBO.

Parallel Lighting. A beauty at night.

The windows are like its Hispano O405 CAC, part fixed, part movable. Except in the ELBO, it's the fixed part at the bottom.

Generous amount of legroom in the ELBO.

Interior, front to back

Farewell Scania L113CRLs!