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The Volvo B9TL is a low-floor double-decker bus built by Volvo from 2002 until 2018. It superseded the Volvo Super Olympian and the Volvo B7TL. The 2-axle version has been superseded by the Volvo B5TL in 2014 and the 3-axle version has been superseded by the Volvo B8L in 2018.
|Body and chassis|
|Floor type||Low floor|
|Power output||Volvo D9A: 300hp, 340hp|
Volvo D9B: 260hp, 310hp
Volvo D9C: 300hp
|Predecessor||Volvo B7TL (2-axle)|
Volvo Super Olympian (3-axle)
|Successor||Volvo B5TL (2-axle)|
Volvo B8L (3-axle)
The Volvo B9TL chassis shared the same design of the Volvo B7TL. The key difference from both its predecessor, the Volvo Super Olympian and Volvo B7TL, was a new 9.3-litre engine originally designed by Renault. The radiator was located at the rear offside, similar to the smaller B7TL. The front module design was shared with other low-floor bus chassis built by Volvo, and independent suspension is fitted at the front axle (replaced by conventional front suspension after some years of production).
The B9TL was initially offered in three-axle format, and the two-axle variant was added in 2006 to replace the B7TL. The driveline comprises a Volvo D9A Euro III engine (rated at 300 bhp or 340 bhp), which was later replaced by the Volvo D9B Euro IV/V/EEV engine (uses selective catalytic reduction technology; two versions were offered - the D9B260 rated at 260 bhp for two-axle version, and a higher powered D9B310, rated at 310 bhp, for three-axle version), and coupled to a ZF 5/6-speed gearbox. Volvo also offer the Voith four-speed gearbox as an option.
The front wheels of the three-axle B9TL are usually supplied by Alcoa of the USA, but some buses (including the three prototypes) had all their wheels supplied by Alcoa.
Kowloon Motor BusEdit
A Volvo B9TL prototype was delivered to Hong Kong in July 2003 for Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) as a demonstrator for the Eco-Driveline concept (a large differential ratio, an engine with high low-end torque, and a six-speed automatic gearbox with double overdrive ratios). However, the Volgren CR223LD body (which is actually known to have been assembled in Switzerland) had a width of only 2.50 metres instead of the usual 2.55 metres. After months of testing, the bus was registered as LJ7006 and numbered AVD1 in March 2004. It was put into service in April 2004.
As a result of these tests, Volvo and ZF adopted the Eco-Driveline system as the primary driveline option on the B9TL.
Later it was confirmed that AVD1 would leave Hong Kong after its evaluation, and a farewell tour was held by Bus Fan World on 12 December 2004. The bus was de-licensed on 15 December 2004 and left Hong Kong soon after.
In August 2005, AVD1 was shipped back to Hong Kong after its D9C engine was replaced by a D9B unit. Pre-October 2005, the bus was kept by Volvo in the Hong Kong United Dockyard. Later in 2005, the bus was transferred to KMB for installation of service equipment. The bus was re-licensed as MF5119 in February 2006, and re-entered service on 24 May 2006. The bus is one of the first two to meet the Euro IV emissions standards in Hong Kong (the other is an Alexander Dennis Enviro500 with fleet number ATEU1, originally ATE257).
In early 2004, a Volvo B9TL prototype with a facelifted version of the TransBus Enviro500 body arrived in Hong Kong. It had a slightly different front and rear design, and its rear route box was moved beneath the upper deck rear window. After TransBus International was renamed Alexander Dennis in May 2004, it became the only TransBus Enviro-series bus with a non-Dennis chassis.
Later in the same year, a Wright-bodied B9TL prototype was also delivered. The rear design of its Wright body was different from that of the Wright-bodied Volvo Super Olympian (AVW-class), with the number plate moved beneath (and a little to the right of) the rear route box.
On 12 January 2005, the TransBus Enviro 500-bodied B9TL was finally licensed as LU3721 with fleet number AVBE1, and the Wright-bodied B9TL was registered as LU3739 with fleet number AVBW1. Both of them entered service on the night of 8 February 2005.
In early 2005 KMB ordered 25 B9TL chassis with Wright bodywork, which entered service in 2005/2006. One of them (fleet number AVBW25) had participated in the EFE Showbus 2005 event in the UK before delivery. Among these 25 Wright-bodied B9TL, two of them are prototypes - fleet no. AVBW15 and AVBW26 (registration no. MG470 and MH7721 respectively). AVBW15 is fitted with a D9A340 engine coupled to a four-speed Voith DIWA864.5 gearbox instead of the D9A300 engine coupled to a six-speed ZF6HP592C gearbox, which is unique among the whole Wright-bodied B9TL fleet.
In late 2005, Kowloon Motor Bus placed a further order of 38 Wright-bodied B9TL and 50 Enviro500-bodied B9TL. The Wright-bodied buses entered service in mid/late-2006, and the Enviro500-bodied buses entered service in late 2006/2007. These were followed by another 35 buses with Enviro500 bodywork, they entered service in 2007/2008.
In 2009, KMB ordered 175 Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied B9TLs (in two batches) equipped with Euro V D9B-310 engines and Vogelsitze seats, which have begun delivery as of early 2010. These were followed by an order for a further 115 Wright-bodied B9TL in 2010 - AVBWU1-AVBWU290. All these buses entered service between 2010 and 2012.
In 2013 a further batch of 50 arrived at Hong Kong as chassis (except the first one which is a prototype), and they were transferred to mainland China for assembling the Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodies, which broke the tradition of Wright only assembling bus bodies in their own factory. A further order of 58 buses were confirmed, following by 50 buses with bodies assembled in Malaysia, bringing the total to 158 buses. They all arrived Hong Kong as chassis in 2014. The prototype and buses from the second batch onwards are equipped with orange Hanover route display board while the first batch are equipped with orange Gorba route display boards. They are the super low-floor buses with the highest capacity (138 passengers) in the fleet of KMB 12m buses - AVBWU291-AVBWU448.
In 2016, KMB had a latest batch of further 245 buses with Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 were ordered, which will deliver from 2017 onwards. They were assembled in Malaysia, with most of them were super low-floor buses with the capacity of 137 passengers, bringing up to a grand total of 693 buses - AVBWU449-AVBWU693. They also equipped with USB chargers.
In 2017, KMB ordered the last batch of 104 buses with Wright Eclipse Gemini 2, with the same capacity (137 passengers) as and will bring a grand total of 797 buses. They also equipped with USB chargers. -AVBWU694-AVBWU797.
Starting from AVBWU563, most buses had red exterior bodies and improved seats.
KMB received one Wright Eclipse Gemini 2-bodied two-axle B9TL in 2010, it was first registered in December 2010. Before licensing the last row of seats on the upper deck was removed due to weight limit laws.
KMB received two 12.8m Wright Eclipse Gemini 2-bodied B9TLs in mid-2014. Both buses were registered in August 2014 and were deployed on route 73X. These two buses are super low-floor buses with the highest capacity (146 passengers) in Hong Kong.
KMB ordered three Gemilang bodied B9TLs in 2017 and equipped with Navaho LCD display. They were registered in September 2018 and entered service in March 2019.
On 29 September 2009, a KMB Wright-bodied B9TL (fleet number AVBW29, reg number MJ6852) was written off after being burnt out near Wu Chung House in Queen's Road East, Wan Chai on 10 December 2008. After investigations, it was determined that the fire was caused by an overheated generator. Later KMB received one additional B9TL as compensation.
Long Win BusEdit
Citybus and New World First BusEdit
Citybus received one Wright Eclipse Gemini 2-bodied two-axle B9TL (fleet number 7500) on 31 July 2010. This vehicle was first registered in November 2010 and entered service in the following month.
Citybus and New World First Bus placed an order for 51 Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodied tri-axle in March 2014. They were assembled by Wrightbus's new partner, Masdef, in Malaysia. Thirty 11.3-metre-long vehicles (95XX class) and one 12.8-metre-long demonstrator (fleet number 6500) will be delivered to Citybus, and twenty 11.3-metre-long vehicles (45XX class) will be delivered to New World First Bus in January 2015. 6500 has registered in March 2015 and entered service in the following month. The 45XX class are all registered in 2015 together with the 95XX class.
Citybus and New World First Bus placed another order of 65 B9TLs in 2015, including 40 11.3-metre and 25 12-metres buses. 30 of the 11.3 metres buses will go to Citybus fleet and the remaining 10 11.3 metres buses will go to New World First Bus. All the 12 metres examples are allocated to New World First Bus as 52XX class.
Discovery Bay Transit Services (DBTSL) from Discovery Bay placed an order of six 12m Wright Eclipse Gemini 2-bodied B9TL in 2014. All vehicles were delivered between June and July 2015. They entered service on 16 August 2015.
In three-axle form, the B9TL made its debut in the United Kingdom when Weavaway Travel of Newbury placed an order for six B9TL with East Lancs Myllennium Nordic bodywork in late 2004 and put them into service in April/May 2005. Since then, two more were sold to Roadliner of Poole and Provence Private Hire of St Albans for school contracts and commercial work.
The two-axle Volvo B9TL did not make its debut in the United Kingdom until the middle of 2006. The first demonstrator, with Wright Eclipse Gemini body, was delivered to London General in July 2006 for evaluation, it is used on route 11. The first order was secured from Delaine Buses for two examples with the new East Lancs Olympus bodywork. The first one, along with an Alexander Dennis Enviro400-bodied version, were unveiled in "Euro Bus Expo" show in November 2006.
Initial sales of the two-axle version were slow in Britain, particularly in London, after falling foul with the noise and capacity requirements imposed by Transport for London. Orders were also received for the Volvo B9TLs by First London, Go-Ahead London and Metroline. The B9TL had success with Lothian Buses, FirstGroup, East Yorkshire Motor Services, Highland Scottish, Yorkshire Coastliner and Flights Hallmark, where orders were received from 2007 to 2014.
The first order from Arriva was for 10 East Lancs Visionaire open top buses for The Original Tour in January 2007; and delivered in April - November 2007. An additional 16 buses (VXE721 - VXE736) were delivered in October 2011 - February 2012.
Dublin Bus of Dublin, Ireland placed an order for 20 B9TL with single-door Alexander Dennis Enviro500 bodywork in early 2005.  These buses are the largest in the fleet and also the first tri-axle double deckers for the Irish capital, the first of them entered service in December 2005.
In 2007, Dublin Bus ordered 50 B9TL with Alexander Dennis Enviro400 bodywork and another 50 B9TL with Alexander Dennis Enviro500 bodywork for delivery in 2007/2008. The two-axle buses entered service in summer/autumn 2007, and the three-axle buses entered service in December 2007/early 2008. Later Dublin Bus ordered 50 B9TL with Alexander Dennis Enviro400 bodywork and 50 B9TL with Wright Eclipse Gemini bodywork for delivery in 2008/2009. In 2012, Dublin Bus received 80 B9TL with Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodywork, but retaining the older Eclipse Gemini front. A further 80 B9TL with Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodywork, were received by Dublin Bus in 2013.
Bus Éireann also put 10 Wright Eclipse Gemini-bodied Volvo B9TL into service in late 2008, and a further 10 Wright Eclipse Gemini 2-bodied Volvo B9TL in 2012.
ComfortDelGro Corporation Limited bodyworkEdit
SBS Transit of Singapore placed an order for 150 B9TL chassis on 28 December 2004, then the largest single order, which were fitted with bodywork from ComfortDelgro Engineering, part of SBS Transit's parent company. An additional order for 50 more chassis was placed in 2006 at a cost of S$29 million soon after putting its first B9TLs into operation, bringing the total fleet size to 200. These B9TLs come with a Volvo D9A300 engine (Euro III), 150 having ZF 6HP602C gearboxes while the remaining 50 have Voith D864.3 gearboxes.
These are Singapore's first wheelchair-accessible buses. However, instead of automatic ramps, SBS Transit has decided to use manually operated ramps. While the ramps would need more time to deploy, they would be more reliable than automatic ones and would be cheaper to install and maintain because of the absence of complicated mechanical parts.
The buses were launched on 15 February 2006 by Singapore's then Minister for Transport, Yeo Cheow Tong. They were supposed to be deployed from April onwards, but this was delayed till June 2006 - they were slightly wider than most other buses in Singapore, bus stops had to be retrofitted for wheelchair users, and it was necessary to survey which bus routes in Singapore had the most pressing need for such buses.
Bus service 21 was the first to receive the buses, where ten were put into service serving between Saint Michael's Bus Terminal and Pasir Ris Interchange on 27 June 2006, with an official launch ceremony held at Pasir Ris Interchange on 26 June 2006. Service 21 was chosen after consultations with various welfare organizations serving the needs of disabled people, as well as the Land Transport Authority. This route also passes the premises of the Handicaps Welfare Association as well as Tan Tock Seng Hospital, among other medical facilities. B9TLs continued to roll out of the bodywork assembly plant at SBS Transit's Hougang depot, being deployed on selected routes served by several depots, where the routes chosen are expected to serve large numbers of elderly commuters.
As of 29 September 2006, before the Euro 4 dateline of 1 October 2006 set by the Singapore government for diesel vehicles, all 200 B9TLs have been registered, with registration numbers SBS7300P to SBS7499A. As of 2007, all 200 buses were out on the roads.
In 2011, all buses (except SBS7440T) have been fitted with LECIP EDS.
In 2018, refurbishment had commenced for these buses (except SBS7428E and SBS7440T).
- Early withdrawal
On 7 March 2010, SBS7440T from service 25 was burnt in a bus depot fire at Ang Mo Kio Depot and was de-registered several months later. This was the first de-registration of a Volvo B9TL in Singapore. The Gemilang demonstrator, SBS7777Y was a de facto replacement of the bus.
Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodyworkEdit
On 13 August 2009, SBS Transit announced an order of 150 Volvo B9TLs. The ordered units each feature a Volvo D9B310 engine, a ZF EcoLife 6-speed gearbox, Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodywork, and a Hanover EDS. Every unit is a low-entry bus with a step in the middle section and have a licensed capacity of 131.
Wrightbus began to hand over the ordered units to SBS Transit from 8 September 2010 onwards. All 150 units were registered between 13 September 2010 and 26 August 2011, and were fully operating by November 2010. The registered license plates ranged from SBS7500D to SBS7686B. It subsequently expanded the fleet, replaced 55 Leyland Olympian 3-Axle and 8 Volvo Olympian 2-Axles. This batch is also the only SBS Transit Volvo B9TL batch of this bodywork to have excluded registration numbers containing the digit ‘4’ due to tetraphobia caused by the SBS8074K collision in June 2008. Bus services 60, 174 & 185 were the first few services to deploy the new double-deck buses.
On 6 September 2010, SBS Transit ordered another 300 Volvo B9TLs. The new 300 units boast a Voith DiWA transmission instead of the ZF Ecolife transmission. All 300 units were registered between 21 September 2011 and 28 December 2012. Units with registered license plates ranging from SBS7700T to SBS7729L are low-entry buses with a step in the middle section of each unit, boasting a licensed capacity of 131. Each unit also features a Hanover EDS, as well as on the contrary, units with registered license plates including the range from SBS3000G to SBS3238M, SBS3269Z, and from SBS3300R to SBS3329J are 100% low-floor buses, boasting a higher licensed capacity of 133. All units, with the exception of SBS3189X, feature LECIP EDSes. SBS3189X instead features a Hanover EDS.
On 9 July 2012, SBS Transit ordered another 550 Volvo B9TLs. SBS Transit ordered 15 additional units between 2012 and 2014, increasing the number in this batch to 565 units. These buses have the same specifications of the low-floor buses from the second batch (except SBS3189X) up till SBS3384Z and SBS3760X, while buses registered from SBS3385X and SBS3761T onward have the same specifications as SBS3189X, that is with Hanover EDS. These 565 units were registered between 30 January 2013 and 18 June 2015 with registration plates SBS3240E to SBS3299L (excluding SBS3269Z), SBS3330D to SBS3448Z and SBS3600A to SBS3986L.
The latest order of 415 Volvo B9TLs was announced by SBS Transit on 1 July 2014. Thus, making SBS Transit the owner of the largest Volvo B9TL fleet to date, at 1,631 units. These buses were registered from SBS1Z to SBS23K, SBS3449X to SBS3482Z and SBS3487K to SBS3523P since between 3 August 2015 and 30 December 2015, bearing straight staircases as part of ongoing trend on-board double-deck buses in Singapore's public transport system, headrests built on priority seats facing the staircases, and the highest licensed capacity of 135. This batch is, once again, fitted with LECIP EDS as well.
Gemilang Coachworks bodyworkEdit
SBS Transit received a Volvo B9TL demonstrator bodied by Gemilang Coachworks. This demonstrator Volvo B9TL has similar specifications of the 3000-series low floor Wrightbus from the second batch and the third batch, The bus has registered as SBS7777Y on 22 January 2014 and entered service on 17 February 2014 on service 7, plying between Bedok Bus Interchange and Clementi Bus Interchange. The bus was a de facto replacement for SBS7440T, the burnt down unit.
Following the full implementation of the Bus Contracting Model in 2016, it was not purchased by the Land Transport Authority due to its non-standard specifications; it has since been used for training purposes by SBS Transit.
Bus Contracting ModelEdit
As part of the Bus Contracting Model, the Land Transport Authority ordered 176 additional Volvo B9TL buses in SBS Transit specifications. These buses will bear the “SG” prefix on their registration plates and no longer use SBS-plates. Now, these buses are now operating SBS Transit, SMRT Buses, Go-Ahead Singapore and Tower Transit Singapore. Registration from SG5000E-SG5185E & SG5300P-SG5610U were orders from SBS Transit, SMRT Buses, Go-Ahead Singapore and Tower Transit.
A number of two-axle Volvo B9TL open top buses were sold to a number of cities in Europe for sightseeing purposes.
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