Mercedes Benz O 305
double deck O 305s are sorted into the following sub-pages:
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The Mercedes Benz O305 series is said to be one of the most popular bus model in the world. It is said to be more successful than its counterparts because it has superb reliability and a very powerful engine to cope with most type of road conditions.
The bus was introduced in 1967. In the 1970s, when Mercedes Benz 0305 chassis gained success in its single-deck market.
After the law stipulating that buses in Hong Kong had to be purchased from Britain or other commonwealth countries was repealed in 1983, Mercedes Benz supplied a double deck O 305 demonstrator to Kowloon Motor Bus Company in August that year. It was registered CZ 6686 and allocated the fleet number ME1. Unlike the ordinary German double-deckers, it received an Alexander R-type body of nearly 4.5 metres high. The front entrance was modified to single width to suit the requirements of Hong Kong operators. This vehicle was deployed to Cross-harbour route 101. When the evaluation of ME1 was thought to be successful in the territory, a further batch of 40 were ordered by the KMB. The bodies were a bit different as they were equipped with ventilation system and an improved frontal layout. Later, ME1 had its front end changed to meet the standard of the latter batch.
To operators in Hong Kong, the 0305 has been a very powerful bus, although the power of the OM407h engine was only 147kW and is not turbocharger. It performed outstandingly when climbing on hilly roads in Hong Kong. To my own experience, it climbs about 2 times as fast as a Cummins M305E engined Dennis Dragon of similar passenger loading. Therefore, KMB directed these buses at the most demanding routes at that time, Routes 68 and 68X. Some of them also served Cross Harbour Route 105. Since the new recovery vehicles introduced by the Hong Kong Cross-harbour Tunnel limited in 1986 may damage 0305s' chassis when they were on tow, the buses had been removed from Cross-harbour service then. Now, they replaced the role of Victory 2s in other tough routes in the eastern part of the New Territories like 70 and 71K. They are about to retire in one or two years. A small number of them has been parked in depots and parts are used to service the remaining vehicles.
in terms of the export market of such double-deck chassis, Singapore Bus Services has taken the lion's share. They took 200 1984 and 1985. Like those in Hong Kong, they adopted Alexander R-type bodywork with 3+2 layout. However, partly because of the one and a half width door and the cargo area in the front, the passenger capacity is 109, slightly less than those in Hong Kong. But this has not let it not be the two axled double deckers in Singapore with highest passenger capacities. Its configuration is a llittle bit different from those in Hong Kong. The staircase has been moved immediately behind the driver and the rear door moved beyond the first axle.
In South Africa, buses of this type are fitted with single and double deck bodies. They can be found in most major cities in the country.
However, there are several weak points to 0305. Although there is much space for standing at the lower deck, the upper deck cannot be fully utilised. Since this is a rear underfloor engined vehicle, the ceiling of the rear lower deck has to be higher than the front, leading to a lower overall height at the rear of the upper deck and no seats were allocated there. Moreover, the noise level is high in the rear part of the lower saloon. Some residents living in Northern District complain that the engine noise of the buses has become louder than before. The gross vehicle weight was only 16 tonnes, which seems insufficient to a heavy duty 11-metre double-decker.
Up till now, the 0305s have a very good safety record in Hong Kong. There has never been any serious accident.
State Transit Authority of New South Wales had purchased more than 600 Pressed Metal Corporation bodied buses of this type during 1979-84. Most of them are still in service and in relatively good condition.
Yellow Bus of Auckland has bought more than 100 Coachwork bodied Mercedes Benz O 305s in early 1980s. They continue to serve Auckland after Stagecoach took over the operator in 1998.
The O 305Gs were introduced in 1978.
Specifications (double deck O
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Page created: 15 January 2001
Last updated: 5 July 2009