From the last bus to First Bus: farewell to a slice of history

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 September, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 September, 1998, 12:00am

Cheung Suet-sang drove into a new era of public transport when his N8 double-decker left the Siu Sai Wan terminus 15 minutes after midnight.

After receiving a lai see packet from First Bus managing director, Adolf Hsu Hsung, Mr Cheung, 45, set off with an almost full bus, including the Commissioner for Transport, Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun.

'I'm very honoured and excited. The bus used to be only half full at this time, but tonight it's full,' Mr Cheung said minutes before leaving the terminal.

Mr Cheung who has worked for CMB for eight years, said he had been responsible for the same shift for the same route over the past two years.

Among the passengers were his wife, who wanted to surprise him, along with about a dozen friends and relatives.

'We came here to celebrate Mr Cheung having a new boss,' one of his friends said.

But it was a Quarry Bay resident who became the first passenger of the first bus ride after queuing up at the bus terminal for two hours.

'I'm unemployed and have nothing to do. But I want to share the joy of the First Bus and that's why I'm here,' passenger Mr Chan said. Scores of bus fans flocked to the terminal last night to take pictures of the historic moment.

In North Point terminus, the last trip for CMB attracted dozens of onlookers who cheered and clapped as the No 10 bus drove out for Pokfield Road at 12.05am.

The driver, Ng Tim, in his late 50s, had worked for CMB as a driver for more than 30 years.

He will drive First Bus No 38 between North Point and Chi Fu Fa Yuen from today.

'I am just carrying out my everyday duty,' Mr Ng said. 'Everything changes at some stage.

'I joined the company more than 30 years ago and witnessed a lot of changes: from single deck to double deck; non-air-conditioning to new models, changing the boss is nothing special to me.

'It will have no effect on my daily work,' he said.

Painting worker Ricky Yuen Yip-kuen, 43, brought his son, Tze-long, seven, to the terminus to ride on the last bus.

'I want to be part of the historic moment. I have lived in North Point for more than 30 years.

'When I was a child, I took CMB buses to school. I wanted my son to enjoy the same ride,' Mr Yuen explained.