3-door electric ISBs made their service debut around the roads of NUS on 21 November 2022, with four BYD B12 buses deployed across Services A1, A2 and BTC. This came just in time for the finals period from 19 November to 3 December 2022; while demand at this time is mostly point-to-point rather than the typical boarding and alighting pattern, 3-door buses are still useful here due to the increased willingness from passengers to move to the rear of the bus.
The debut of the NUS BYD B12s was met with significantly more fanfare than the 2-door Zhongtong N12s – many bus enthusiasts had taken an interest in this new generation of buses after the exhibition at UTown, with nearly every bus featured on social media thanks to bus spotters.
Numerically the first of the NUS batch of BYD B12 buses is PD564D, which was previously exhibited at University Town on 1 November. It made its debut on Service A2 on 21 November 2022.
Many photos of the BYD B12s seem to show the DRLs only on one side, giving the bus a winking appearance – this is because when the indicator is blinking, the DRL on that side of the bus turns off. This feature is also seen on BYD B12s in China. Below, PD564D is signalling left as it approaches KR Bus Terminal.
The aerodynamic shape of the BYD B12 body can be appreciated in this shot of PD564D from ground level, with the bus having a rounded shape like a loaf of bread. Similar styling is used in the front and rear of the bus.
PD577S, meanwhile, made its debut on A1 the same day, driven by the friendly driver of PC3925G. The third door helped greatly in packing exam-goers into the bus in the mornings.
PD629B made its debut on Service BTC on 21 November, replacing PD622U (one of the 2-door Zhongtongs which turned out to be an interim fleet). It was, strictly speaking, the first BYD B12 deployed, as it began its trip from OTH Bldg at 8.30 in the morning.
While 3-door buses are the most suited to high-demand trunk routes like A1 and A2 because of passenger flow, they also help drivers on BTC keep to schedule by reducing dwell time. Eventually, all buses in the ISB network will be replaced with 3-door buses.
Finally, PD660J made its debut on A2 as well. Together with PD564D, it helped to shuttle post-exam crowds home from the MPSH areas at the UHC bus stop.
Two more buses debuted a week later: PD649T and PD722P.
PD649T made its debut on Service A2, bearing a striking light blue wrap designed by NUS Business student Yong Yi Ann.
PD722P, numerically the last of the batch, debuted the same week again on Service A2. This bus was previously exhibited at UTown on 31 October 2022, and was the first BYD B12 seen by the world.
With more 3-door buses to join the fleet soon (there are apparently 3-door Zhongtong N12s on the way), I hope passengers will make the best use of the 3-door layout by segregating their boarding and alighting – signage placed in the bus doors continues to remind passengers to board from the front. This is done for safety reasons, as the Bus Captains are not able to monitor boarding at the middle or rear.
Thankfully, the BYD B12s were off to a good start – let’s hope this continues!