Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The new livery for SMRT Buses....after the buzz.

When SMRT's new livery was first spotted, the first reaction was "What the heck is that gap in the middle portion on the bus?".

Cue Counterstrike explosives on the design computer. 
The digital matrix effect, pixels, magic dust, splash effect whatever that people call them that was scattered over the wheels, seemed like as if someone had planted some virtual C4 explosives and and blew the livery up at that portion. 

This was probably the original idea. Probably.
The odd combination of yellow, red "orange lookalike" and black on a sliver background looks pretty nice, but as usual, after getting used to it. Sliver/light grey was like an odd choice for a base colour, usually only private bus operators will opt for it. When Singapore Bus Services transited (pun intended) to SBS Transit, the white from the red & white livery was retained while introducing a new design & a new colour - purple.

And the left side looks slightly plain as the effect is interrupted due to the doors. Admittedly it probably could be executed better given that it's the side that most of the passengers will see.

The left side of the new livery - the aircon pod was also painted black after the first photos were captured. The front Citaro badge however did not make it back to the bus
But sliver gives a very unique effect - the bodywork of the bus suddenly looks very premium, something of the effect that you'll get from cars. And it might hide the dusts and dirt better than white, which was showing them up pretty easily.

Also of note is the inclusion of black paint on the electronic signage area for the electronic signage, might be due to visibility reasons.

Dirt & dust shows up very easily on the white bodywork, giving the look and feel of the bus being less well maintained.

Note that the first bus we talked about was the Citaro, SMB140P. That's because (in my personal opinion) it's the nicest looking after the new paint job. The MAN & OC500LE feels weird, especially due to the front (and for the back in the OC500LE). Even though some time have passed, the front of the MAN & OC still seems a bit weird, but the MAN still takes the cake for that.

Let's start of with the MAN, the only fault with the new paint job is how the lower front is rendered.

SMRT's preview for the new livery. (Just kidding).
In the old livery, the portion below the windscreen is painted black, and it allows for the signature MAN Lion's City front design to stand out in white & red (with black bumper).

The MAN NL323F with its new paint job. Still awkward looking "grumpy" front of sorts.
In the new livery, the black area is lost for a much bigger SMRT logo for the front which is below the windscreen. Previous test attempts by SMRT to have a larger logo while retaining the black area might have made the bus look awkward, like SMB190U.
Bigger than usual SMRT logo, but might have stood out awkwardly

Still a case of needing to get used to it. And for the OC500LE, it was the nicest looking in the old SMRT livery until....

The old livery brings out a European "charm" for these OC500LEs. 
The front (still) looks robotic.

The black portion of the front under the windscreen is missing, and like the MAN bus it also sacrificed the black area under the windscreen to have the SMRT logo in a more prominent position. But oddly, the Citaro's SMRT logo still remains at the same place (as the black under the windscreen is probably not able to be painted?).

And an awkward sliver area above where the red portion used to go above the housing for the Mercedes Benz logo to get a straight yellow across.

And also in a pursuit to for a bigger SMRT logo for the rear, the whole black area under the rear windscreen is completely painted over. It looks rather ugly at first but now, as with everything, get used to it.

Have to get used to it....have gotten used to it.
Oddly, it also seems like the case where the actual bus turns out to be better than those in the photos at times, with some commenting that it does look better in person than in photos. The livery does remind of the old Trans Island livery, with its orange & yellow livery now being red (orange lookalike) and yellow with a distinctive pattern over the wheels.

As of date, only SMRT's wheelchair accessible bus types had been painted with the new livery, there was a fleet of MAN NL323F with the new livery deployed, but only SMB140P and SMB30Z from the Citaro & OC500LE fleet are painted as of now. The TIBS fleet are expected to also get the new livery for the buses that still have a substantial lifespan remaining, such as the Mercedes Benz O405G fleet.

Old or new? The new does look better at the end of the day, once you get over the initial shock of the changes made on the buses. Really love the sliver base colour for the livery.

And as compared to the SBS Transit : SBST's livery catches the eye more easily - simple & modern.
Jokes had been made about the new livery -

The livery look like Germany's flag, upside down....?

Germany flag?
After the initial excitement over the new look, it's overall a bit underwhelming. Still need to get used to the new colour scheme and how some of the buses look drastically different overall. In a way, the new livery could be better implemented to the OC500LE & MAN buses while retaining and flowing with certain characteristics from the bodywork design.