Monday, May 2, 2011

SBS Transit : Dennis Dart/ Duple Metsec

The Dennis Dart is a 9.4m midibus manufactured by Dennis Specialist Vehicles. It is larger than a standard minibus but smaller than a full fledged 12m bus. Then-Singapore Bus Service (SBS) brought in 10 units of the Dennis Darts to serve M1 and M2, which is the current route 92 and 42 respectively.

The Dennis Dart when it was newly brought in. Photo by SBS Transit
The 10 buses were registered between SBS8009A to SBS8018Z. All the Dennis Darts are bodied by Duple Metsec, and had a remarkable resemblance to the Duple Metsec bodied Volvo B10M MK III cousins.

This earned them a very cute nickname of 'baby MK III'. They are also the unique buses in the fleet to be fitted with Allison AT545 gearboxes as standard with its Cummins 6BT engine. It is possible that many may not know that SBS Transit operates such small buses given the very limited services it operates on.

SBS8009A, the first registered Dart in the fleet, running on svc 42
This is like the 'grown up version' of the Duple Metsec bodywork ^^
The right side of the Dennis Dart.
The resemblance of the right with the B10M MK III, with similar airconditioned pod and styling.
The similarities ends at the rear as the Darts have its own unique rear.

The Dart's rear.
These buses were conceptualised to serve the low demand, short haul services on M1 (92) and M2 (42) respectively. The roads that the routes serve are small and narrow, hence the midibuses' short length is an advantage to navigate through such roads.
The bus captain guiding the Dart into a small narrow road serving the private housings.
A testament of its 9.4m length.
The entrance door
One step access to board the bus.
Stepping on board, the interior of the Dennis Dart have a very cozy feel yet spacious enough for passengers to stand/sit comfortably.
The interior of the Dennis Dart
The bus is fitted with the updated air-conditioned bus seats though the seat covers are of the older blue type.
The entrance door as viewed from inside.
In a standard 12m bus, this space would have accomodated also one more farecard validator machine, minus one seat.
Side facing bench seats are mounted above the left and right front wheelarches.

There are only two EZ-link card reader installed, one at the entrance and one at the exit. It is supplmented with a coinbox + farecard validator/ticket dispenser for cash-paying passengers.

The front of the bus, with the bus stopping bell on the left, service sticker above it and a sign on 42's terminating trips.
The Dart's driver cabin.
The aircon ducts for the bus captain, together with the Operation Control Centre communication speaker.

One entrance EZ-link reader and one coinbox for the front.
The ticket validator, the first aid kit and the fire extinguisher (behind the first aid box), together with the service guide on the side.

The Duple Metsec badging on the compartment above the Bus Captain's cabin.

The ceiling of the Dennis Dart, with grey fabric cover aircon ducts, and a ventilation fan.
A "Please move to the rear" signage near the exit of the bus.

The exit door as seen from outside.
The rear exit door, with one EZ-link reader for passengers alighting.
The Door Closing sign, bus stopping bell and the housing for the door mechanism
The front's one step entrance gently slope upwards to the exit's two steps.
Towards the rear half of the Dart.
Sutrak air-conditioning is fitted for the Dennis Dart fleet.

The emergency exit door.
The rear row of seats might be a little squeezy ^^
View from rear to front
The Dennis Darts are now semi-retiring, with the fleet on 92 from Bukit Batok Depot already completely retired. The rest of the fleet from service 42 are expected to retire by October 2011. It is unlikely that SBS Transit will purchase midibuses to replace the outgoing Darts, though this might change in the future.
The Vehicle Licence and Cool-Air logo for the windscreen.

A very cute front wheel...
....coupled wth a cute rear wheel!
The old SBS logo is embossed on the coinbox.
The destination signage holder.
The bodywork identification plate is worn-out but still visible
The Duple Metsec and Dennis badgings...
.....and the Dart badging painted over to be consistent with the livery.
Headlight/bumper area of the Dart, with its small horizontal wipers.
The two Darts on 42 meets each other at the same location near Kembangan MRT station, which the one nearer to the station serving as the terminating stop for the service.
From inside the Dart.
From outside, the two Dennis Darts meeting each other. SBS8016D is parked at the terminating bus stop.

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