AY22/23 Sem 1 has ended, and like many students, it seems some ISBs have also headed to Sentosa for some fun. In a new development, two relatively new Zhongtong N12 (2-door) electric buses have been transferred out of NUS operations: PD496S and PD622U, formerly operating on NUS ISB routes, have now been spotted in a full coat of orange paint running on Bus A in Sentosa.
This deployment, of two fully electric shuttle buses on Sentosa bus routes, is likely part of Sentosa’s sustainability efforts, which also include the usage of electric beach trams and deployment of Volvo B5LH hybrids on service 123. They are not the first electric buses to ply Sentosa routes, though, as a BYD C8 was previously trialled there – which later came over to NUS between August and November 2022.
The sole remaining Zhongtong N12 (2-door) at NUS now is PD728Z, which continues to run on Service BTC. The redeployment of the two, while somewhat unexpected, could be to make way for 3-door buses. After all, promotional materials from Campus Services have been mentioning 3-door buses, and 3-door BYD B12s were rolled out at NUS in November. 3-door versions of the Zhongtong N12 have also been spotted in NUS livery.
The deployment of former ISBs on Sentosa routes is not new; part of the fleet at Sentosa is made up of Scania K230UBs that were formerly in NUS service and transferred elsewhere thereafter, but given a good refurbishment before running around the State of Fun.
PD496S and PD622U have been repainted in full orange but do not feature any Sentosa livery outside, just like the SC Auto-bodied Volvo B8RLEs and the Scania K230UBs. This means that SDC’s own Liannex-bodied B8RLEs are still the only buses to have an exterior Sentosa livery.
While it’s tempting to guess that they just painted over the blue bits on the top of the buses, I wouldn’t jump to that conclusion. The orange colour of NUS and Sentosa are not exactly the same, and the Scanias previously got full-body repaints including the wiper area so there’s no reason to assume that wasn’t the case.
There is, however, a small detail on the buses that reveals the former blue colour. Can you see it?
Above the front door and the driver’s window of PD496S and PD622U, there is a new “Electric Bus” sticker with a lightning bolt. This sticker was not present when the buses operated at NUS, and was also placed onto the two NTU units, PD583Z and PD698B, when they received their NTU livery wraps. (I have still not gotten around to photographing those two.)
On the window next to the front door of both PD496S and PD622U, two stickers have been added below the stroller sticker. The first is from Sentosa and highlights the electric bus as part of the Sustainable Sentosa framework, while the second reads “Power EVery Move” and refers to LTA’s National Electric Vehicle Campaign. The degree of actual LTA involvement in these stickers is currently unknown.
The same “Power EVery Move” sticker is placed on the rear of both PD496S and PD622U, on the left side.
The EDS for Sentosa services uses the same scrolling-text format as the ISBs, with the top row displaying the origin and destination, and the bottom row listing all stops in yellow. The route number is on the kerb side, meaning the formatting was likely modified off the revised format for ISB and not the original dataset. Service A is displayed with a red background, but that seems to be the default colouring. It is not clear whether B, C or other services have a different background.
On the LCD PIDS, though, the background of the A is grey. The PIDS layout follows the NUS specifications and design with the stops running from top to bottom, but the video section is blank like the NTU ones. The interior is generally in the same state as when the buses were at NUS without much modifications. Not much in the way of NUS-specific signage had been installed in the buses during their short stint anyway, save for promotional materials relating to the Mystery Rider programme, which were removed. Of course, the buses look like they have been cleaned up.
The Sentosa buses’ deployments are unclear, but the buses have been sighted mostly on Bus A as early as the morning and as late as the end of service. However, they were observed heading in and out of Sentosa in the middle of the day (PD622U went off service around 4pm, while PD496S came in around that timing). I understand the buses head to their overnight charging point in the afternoon to partially juice up and return for the rest of the day.
This is interesting, as the buses did not need to do so at NUS, and could run a full shift without needing very long breaks. As PD728Z is still running fine, I’m guessing that this is due to different operating conditions at Sentosa, such as less shade and hotter roads. I don’t think Bus A can be more physically demanding in terms of crowds or slopes than ISB routes! Nevertheless, here’s wishing Sentosa all the best in its efforts to electrify, and glad that NUS has been able to help in some way along this journey.
Sentosa, if you’re reading this, don’t worry. NUS took great care of them!
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