We refer to the letter (Sunday Morning Post, June 28) concerning the bus service of route Nos 68M and 968 after the opening of the Route 3 Country Park Section.
With the completion of the Route 3 (Country Park Section), from May 26, KMB provided a comprehensive service enhancement package, including the introduction of new bus routes and a diversion of bus routes via Tai Lam Tunnel for passengers from the Yuen Long and Tin Shui Wai areas. Passengers travelling on the routes via Tai Lam Tunnel can make substantial journey-time savings.
In addition, passengers can enjoy additional choices of destinations by interchanging on other KMB routes at the toll plaza area of Tai Lam Tunnel Bus Interchange. To improve passenger comfort, all Tai Lam Tunnel routes are operated by air-conditioned double-decker buses.
Bus fares on individual routes are determined by the service nature and journey distance and are set in accordance with fare scales approved by the Government. Before the service enhancement package was introduced, the No 68M operated between Yuen Long (West) and Tsuen Wan MTR Station with fares of $6.70 and $8.60 for non air-conditioned and air-conditioned buses respectively. With the opening of the Route 3 (Country Park Section), the No 68M route was converted to an air-conditioned bus service which re-routes via Tai Lam Tunnel, with its terminal points changed to Long Ping and Kwai Shing Circuit. A concessionary fare of $8.40 was offered. After the reorganisation to Route 3, we noted that bus services in the area still needed improvements. After consultation with the Transport Department and the relevant District Boards, a number of measures were taken to further improve services.
At the request of the Transport Department, the terminus of the No 68M reverted to Yuen Long (West) and Tsuen Wan MTR Station. The concessionary fare remains unchanged at $8.40. The frequency on weekdays is five to 10 minutes while the frequency on Sundays and public holidays is at six to 10 minutes.
Regarding your correspondent's comments on the prolonged waiting time of route No 968 (Yuen Long West-Causeway Bay) since the opening of Route 3, in fact, we have been closely monitoring the service level of this route. Departures during the morning peak period have adhered to the schedule. However, during the evening peak period, the No 968 has been affected by traffic congestion in Central and at the Pok Oi Interchange. Special departures starting from Wan Chai were added for en route passengers and combined with the implementation of a bus-only lane at Pok Oi Roundabout, on June 24, our bus operation has improved a lot.
Furthermore, because of increasing passenger demand, two extra buses will be added at the end of this month, bringing the total number of buses on this route to 20. The morning peak period frequency from Yuen Long (West) will be improved from seven to eight minutes to six to seven minutes, while from Causeway Bay, the frequency will go from eight to nine minutes to seven to eight minutes during evening peak hours.
KMB will continue to keep a close watch on passenger demand in the area and regulate bus services whenever the situation warrants.
WINNIE NG Public Relations Manager The Kowloon Motor Bus Company Limited