The Alexender Dennis Enviro is one of the two new buses introduced in the Singapore Bus Carnival 2016 to be operated by Tower Bus services in Western Singapore. The bus is a direct lift from the Enviro 500 used by the Kowloon bus company in Hong Kong- where almost all of Singapore’s public transport system is largely modeled after. Exterior-wise, the bus has a rather streamlined and curved look up front with the new green colour scheme accented by sleek black panels with a curving wind shield flowing to the upper deck. The sides and rear of the bus are long and angular, in contrast to the feminine front curves.
The bus is a low floor-wheel chair accessible (manually folding wheelchair ramp) bus similar to the current 2nd and 3rd generation in-service double deck Volvo-Comfort “Super buses”, only it has the inclusion of a 2nd staircase, third rear exit door as well as two USB charging ports (one 2.1A and one 1A) on the side walls for every row of seats. The USB ports are covered by a rubber plug, preventing accidental damages, though still prone to vandalism.
I particularly like the inclusion of the rear exit staircase as it encourages people to move and exit from the rear (and not crowd in the middle of the bus). However, this 2nd exit stair case inclusion at the rear greatly reduces the lower-floor seating capacity, where the 10 rear-row seats are effectively lost on both floors. This might be sensible for a bus longer than 12m, like the MAN Lion City DD used in Berlin.
The spill-resistant seats feature an alternating grey and maroon colour scheme and have nice bolstering on the sides which increases it size, but is much on the firm-side. They come with seatbelts and I found the seating arrangement rather cramped, with smaller leg space to make up for the lowered seat count. especially the 2nd floor ceiling height is also shorter and you will find yourself scraping the ceiling if you are 178cm tall. This bus also uses conventional red buttoned push-button style bus bells.
I had been on a couple of Volvo buses in Europe with rather nice smooth blue LED interior ambient lighting at night, it’s nice to see that included in this bus too. The bus comes equipped with either a Volvo D9A/D9B engine, currently service on all SBS-transit double decker buses or the Cummins ISMe/ISM/ISLe/ISL (ADL Enviro500) delivering 330- 380 hp through a 6 speed Ecolife automatic transmission. It has no emergency exit doors and similarly uses window breakage for emergency exits. In place of a tempered glass hammer, emergency exit hammer are now integrated into a push-button window breaker found on every other window pane at regular intervals.
The main selling point of this bus will be the third rear exit door. If you like this bus (Bus A), do give it a vote at the Singapore Bus Carnival 2016, currently on as a touring carnival over 3 areas in Singapore.