Saturday, January 22, 2011

SMRT Buses : ZhongTong Hybrid LCK6121GHEV (SMB137A)

The first SMRT Buses' hybrid, the Zhong Tong LCK6121GHEV debuted on revenue service on 19th January 2011. It was originally slated to be on service 106 according to a press release but instead went on 945 for the first day on revenue service.

It was spotted doing testing rounds in Woodlands Town near the depot with livery stickered on, running around with a trade plate. The bus is nicknamed the "president" due to the similar sounding but different tone of Chinese words "Zhong Tong 总统".

The ZhongTong before registration on test runs.
SMB137A on 945 offloading passengers during an evening peak trip.
From afar, the bus does look different from the usual buses that are running around today. The front does look like a train-inspired design. I do like the little sliver curve behind the driver's window.
The sides of the bus gives a very modern feel, with the black highlights dominating the majority of the sides. It is complimented with Alcoa rims, giving the bus an attractive look.

The left side of the ZhongTong showing off its EDS and doors and the black highlights of the bus.
The Electronic Destination Signage (EDS) is by Mobitec; a plus for photographing this bus without worries that the EDS will be cut off. Oddly, the EDS data is following the old format (route number is away from the kerbside/bus stops) instead of the new format (route number near the kerbside/bus stops).

The rear is remincence of OC500LE/Citaro's design, but it is actually Zhong Tong's original design. The bus has an additional signal blinker behind the rear wheel, which is a new safety feature.

Citaro-OC lookalike
The aircon under the cover may or may not be a Konvekta, but it works well keeping passengers comfortable.
Zhong Tong aircon. It is quite cold.

The front of the ZhongTong. LED side blinkers are installed.
The ZhongTong is a low entry bus, with two steps leading to the rear. The rear section it is not as high as the OC500LEs.

The interior is SMRT Buses' standard and attractive purple/blue and red + grey colour scheme. The seats layout however, is similar to the recently introduced  MAN NL320F,
The Zhong Tong 's interior.
The driver's cabin have a very modern dashboard for the driver, with various controls and settings to adjust around. The CCTV screen for the exit door is integrated into the speedometer area for easy viewing, though if the steering wheel is turned, the view may be blocked.

Keep your eyes on Zhong Tong logo in the middle. Now you see it....

....and now you see the exit door via the CCTV!
The front of the interior is a very interesting front. It has a very cool LED "BUS STOPPING" light which looks pretty nice, together with a CCTV camera below it. A 24 hours digital clock is also installed for the passengers to see the time.

Above the entrance door, a Bus Stopping light is installed. I believe it is a supposed to be a Door Closing light, from the history of SMB135E (Yutong).

One photo says it all ^^.
The entrance door is pretty unique, with one of the door poles slanted and the doors being asymetrical. Yellow warning stickers are pasted to caution passengers not to grab the door poles.

The design for the door integrates with the bodywork curve nicely.
The seat behind the bus driver's cabin is moulded into the bus interior rather than a seperate seat. It consist of only two cushions to achieve comfortable seating. This is later also incorporated into the design of the MAN's seat behind the bus driver's cabin (SMB138Y).

The seat above the right wheel has a two cushion layout. Very familiar design indeed.
There is 2 X 6 pairs of front-facings seats per side on the low floor area. This maximises the number of seats for the low floor area while allowing for a Passenger-In-Wheelchair slot just opposite of the exit door.

Aisle is wide enough despite the twin seats arrangement per side.

Grab pole for the front seats at the low floor area.
The Passenger-In-Wheelchair (PIW) bay, with a seatbelt for the safety of PIW. The backrest cushion is larger than the standard ones found on the OC500LEs.

PIW space doubling up as a standee area
The exit door is a flip door. Oddly, each of the door leaf for the front and rear exit doors have two grab bars, one high and one lower, probably to cater for short and tall passengers or just a design.

Flip door. The lining for the wheelchair ramp can be also seen here.
Two steps leads to the rear half of the bus, and the floor at the rear section is less slanted, possibly due to the smaller engine.

The more prominent warning stickers are more prominent with strips for additional safety measures.

The layout is similar ot the OC500LE.
There is a bar which is lined with the window on either side of the rear half. Reminds me of the days of non-airconditioned bus services, where such bars are installed to prevent falling out of the open window. But for this case, it functions like a grab pole when the bus is turning for the inner seating passengers. Or maybe a handrest instead? ^^

The bar's function is a grab pole for the inner seating passengers.
The interior lighting features a LED lighting system, similar to the interior lighting of the refurbished DAF/Scania Striders. When doors are closed, alternate set of lights are on. But when the doors are open, the interior is brightly lit up with all the bulbs light up.

Do note one aircon filter at the front of the bus and a Konvekta aircon filter at the exit door.

Alternate lighting when all doors are closed
Full lighting when door is open

The overall feel of the bus is nice, with SMRT's standard specifications instead of generic Chinese specifications as seen from the SMRT's Yutong. The bus, being a hybrid has the same "manual" automatic gearbox (seems to be Eaton transmission), has a slow pickup and unable to maintain high speed due to a 7 liter engine and a 44 KW electric motor.
Misc. stuffs

The bus stopping bells are cute. A little red dot! =D
Speakers are installed on this bus again. Have no idea why the other Chinese public buses (Yutong, Sunlong) come with this installed.
ZhongTong Safety Glass.
The aircon vents looks like something out of a trainset too. But you cannot adjust this vents though.
Aloca rims installed on this bus. Alux rims anyone?
Emergency hammer is different from the standard ones too.
Aircon ducts
The black area as seen from the outside at the high floor area is translucent from inside.
Rear view camera/ rear window.

UPDATE 1: As of 29th Jan 2011, the Electronic Destinatin Signage has been formatted to have the route number displaying near the kerbside for better visibility.

Running on route 106 with an updated EDS format.

No comments:

Post a Comment