Special Deployments (Cameos)

“Cameo” is a bus enthusiast slang for special deployment. A cameo appearance is a term commonly used in performing arts, but for local bus enthusiasts, they refer to one-off special deployments put in place by bus operators.

Both SBS Transit and SMRT Buses have fixed deployments for every service. On a normal basis, ‘perm’ buses are deployed to their allocated bus routes for revenue service under the fixed-deployment arrangement. Occasionally, when the permanent bus is unable to be deployed for various reasons, another bus will be deployed in its place. This arrangement of having a non-permanent bus on a bus route as a temporary arrangement is referred to as a ‘cameo’. For more information on fixed deployments, check out this article.

Cameos differ from crossovers in that cameo appearances are only temporary arrangements, replacing a permanent bus running on that particular shift. On the other hand, crossovers are specific to a particular running shift and is considered a permanent arrangement as dictated by bus operations. Emergency pullovers (where a particular bus route borrows a vehicle from another route as an emergency arrangement) are also considered as ‘cameos’.

Types of special deployments:

Term Description Example
Normal cameo Refers to the deployment of another bus of a similar model to replace the permanent bus  
Bus model cameo Refers to the deployment of an alternate model of bus as compared to what is usually seen on a particular bus route  
Advert cameo Special deployments of buses with unique full-body advertisements  
BSEP cameo When a certain bus not under the BSEP scheme is deployed to a BSEP bus route 9844_50_2
Demonstrator cameo Refers to the deployment of a demonstrator bus on a service not permanently assigned to it 9844_50_2
Cross-depot cameo When a certain bus is deployed to a certain bus route not controlled by the allocated bus depot, usually an emergency arrangement  92 920E
Rare cameo Often subjective between individuals, usually refers to something rarely seen under normal operations  
Very rare cameo Often subjective between individuals, usually refers to something very rarely seen under normal operations, or unlikely to ever happen again  
  • It should also be noted that special appearances can fall under more than one category
  • Buses with rear advertisements are often disregarded


Bus Enthusiast Culture

Cameos are a daily occurrence and a necessary part of bus operations. Bus enthusiasts frequently document cameos and keep records of such occurrences on a daily basis. A common method of documentation would be to take snapshots of such occurrences, which some bus enthusiasts do on a regular basis.

When very special occurrences appear, information usually spreads quickly via multiple information channels, usually garnering the interest of many enthusiasts to ride and take picture of it. One such case of the Volvo B10TL demonstrator SBS9889U on Service 99 (picture above) is an example.


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