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Singapore’s public buses

The Straits Times put together an infographic of Singapore’s current public bus models:

This range of models is set to be transformed in the next 20 years, because of two factors: Buses must be replaced after 17 years of service, and the long-term clean-energy goal of converting the fleet to hybrid-electric or electric.

About 2 per cent of Singapore’s public bus fleet now run on cleaner energy, and it is on track to phase out diesel buses in 20 years.

The goal to have all 5,800 public buses run fully on electricity or be at least hybrid-electric was set in late 2019, in line with Singapore’s push to do its part to reverse the effects of global warming.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) told The Straits Times last week that it is on track to meet this target by 2040.

Since buses must be replaced after being in service for 17 years, shorter than LTA’s 20-year timeframe to fulfil its goal, the authority said it can renew its fleet as long as all bus purchases from now are for cleaner-energy buses only.

On Jan 11, the last batch of diesel buses was rolled out. The buses were bought before the LTA made its 2040 commitment.

Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Transport Chee Hong Tat has given assurances that these vehicles, bought from Alexander Dennis Services and ST Engineering, will be replaced by buses that run on cleaner energy after their 17-year statutory lifespan.

As each bus model is scrapped after its 17-year service lifespan, it would be great if a handful of vehicles were retrofitted with electric engines, and put back onto the roads as “heritage buses”. They would continue serving the public and plying normal bus routes as before, but would henceforth be part of a “moving bus museum”.

One type of bus I'd love to see as a heritage bus is the Bendy Bus, Singapore's longest public bus. This was TIB838H, Singapore's first Bendy Bus, which plied the roads from 1996 to 2013. Credit: Prince Leyland's YouTube account.

This would be similar to Hiroshima City’s “moving streetcar museum”, with streetcar models from different decades. It would be an attraction in itself, not just to bus otakus, but to tourists from all over the world. It would become a significant source of soft power for the Land Transport Authority and whichever bus operators who maintained the buses. And it would be much easier for me to tell a story of Singapore transport history!

Hiroshima City's "moving streetcar museum".


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