SINGAPORE - Commuters will get to experience quieter bus rides early next year as a batch of 60 electric buses begin operating.
The buses - made by Chinese firms Yutong and BYD and local outfit ST Land Systems - will arrive progressively from the fourth quarter of this year to the first half of 2020.
Powered by an electric motor, an electric vehicle is far quieter than one powered by a conventional internal combustion engine.
The ambient noise level of an electric bus is around 75 decibels, three decibels lower than a typical Euro 6 diesel bus, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
The 60 electric buses, painted with a livery identifying them as electric, were procured under a tender awarded in October 2018.
The new buses will also be kinder to the environment. Post-deployment, emissions from the buses will be reduced by 7,840 tonnes a year, which LTA said is the same amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by 1,700 passenger cars.
In an experiment, LTA has also swopped a single diesel bus's engine for an electric powertrain, part of a proof-of-concept trial to determine the feasibility of converting existing diesel buses to electric buses.
There are about 5,800 buses in Singapore.
A key feature of the new e-buses is increased accessibility and user-friendliness. The 60 electric buses will be equipped with colour passenger information display systems that show route specific information like upcoming bus stops and destinations.
The front door of the 60 buses will have the centre pole removed to make it easier for parents with open strollers to board.
The Yutong and BYD buses will each have a capacity of 80 passengers, split between 28 seated and 52 standing.
They both take between two and four hours to charge and have a range of between 200km and 300km.
Alongside the unveiling of the buses at the Ulu Pandan Bus Depot, a ceremony was held for 86 bus technicians who graduated under the Certification for Technical Specialist (CTS) programme.
The Singapore Bus Academy and the Institution of Engineers Singapore jointly certifies the technicians under three levels of expertise.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony at Ulu Pandan Bus Depot, Senior Minister of State for Transport and for Communications and Information Janil Puthucheary said public satisfaction with buses has "increased steadily" since 2015 and he praised the support of bus technicians who "work tirelessly behind the scenes".
LTA said the CTS programme will be updated to cover training on the operation and maintenance of the new electric buses.