Tuesday, August 24, 2010

TIB1105H - A new lease of life.

A SMRT Mercedes O405G Hispano Habit, TIB1105H was burnt in a fire two years back, and SMRT opted to repair the bendy instead of scrapping it.

TIB1105H before the fire. (Photo by Varun Naidu)
An article from the local newspapers about the fire on TIB1105H here & here (source unknown). As one can see from the article, the bus looked like a total write-off being burnt and gutted out.

Returning on to the roads: A completely new yet nostalgic TIB1105H.
Fast forward to 2010, TIB1105H finally returned on the roads on 23rd August after being on layup status for 2 years, after road test by SMRT and the kind folks from Mercedes Benz tech.

Immediately, one can notice the two extra pods mounted on top of the Habit bodywork. It is the Konvekta units, also used on the OC500LEs. It makes this bus look unique and odd as all of the Hispano Habits have original underfloor airconditioning units.

Stepping on board the bus there will be many familiar features of the interior design, but it is updated and refreshed to today's SMRT specification

The interior is updated and refreshed, while retaining the charm of the Habit's interior design.
The redesign probably took place in a time period when the OC500LEs were still coming in, and the seats of the Mercedes O405 rigids were being replaced with purple/red seats. This results in a bizzare hybrid of an OC500LE / refurbished O405 interior. Most noticeably, the trademark TIBS orange grabpoles that graced the Habit bodywork's interior has been updated to a modern sliver.

Design based on the OC500LE's Gemilang blueprint.
The driver cabin is now a glossy blue rather than matt pastel blue.
The accordion/bendy joint, retaining the glossy blue from TIBS days and light brown from SMRT's updated spec.
Moving towards the rear of the bus, one can start to feel the difference between the normal Habit buses and TIB1105H.

A different type of aircon filter design for the Konvekta aircon units.
The lighting cover bears similar resemblance to the OC500LEs cover, and the handgrip returns to a circular type.
Another shot from the rear to front.More new features can be seen here, such as the new glossy grey aircon ducts and new bus stopping bell
Oddly there is no Passenger Information System installed, instead it returns back to the old Date/Time/Day Bus stopping LED signage from the TIBS days.

The OC-type flooring.

The new seats with the purple/red cushions.
The seats on the rear row is slightly stuffy and hot due to the engine's heat transmitted to the interior of the bus. There seems to be very little engine noise insulation installed between the engine and the interior, making it unpleasant/ hard for conversations or sleeping at the rear. I found myself having to constantly raise my voice to talk to another fellow bus enthusaist about TIB1105H while the bus was on the move.

TIB1105H - A new lease of life.
Overall, the rebuilding of this bendy provides an insight of what SMRT's maintanience team at the depot are capable of doing. It also provides a preview of what SMRT may be specifying for the interiors when they purchase new buses in the future.

And lastly,
Welcome back TIB1105H! (WLDEP SP) [23rd August 2010].

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