Drivers' actions betray bus companies' priorities

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 September, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 September, 1998, 12:00am

With all the news about First Bus and Citybus taking over China Motor Bus' old routes, Kowloon Motor Bus has not been in the news lately. However, a large-scale and unpleasant incident forces me to complain about KMB's foolishness.

On a recent Saturday night a road maintenance crew began to replace worn asphalt on a small stretch of Kwai Chung Road in Mei Foo Sun Chuen, just outside of KMB's bus depot, and the two-lane road leading into Mei Foo was made a single lane.

This was before midnight and many bus routes going into Western Kowloon and the New Territories were still in operation. The limited road space available soon turned into a long traffic jam.

I was on a bus at the 'tail' of this queue. I estimate at least 150 buses, plus many other vehicles, were lined up around 12.20am.

Tired of waiting, I alighted and walked the rest of the way home.

It was just outside KMB's bus depot where I noticed traffic resumed as normal. This was the bottleneck section of the traffic jam, but what I saw there infuriated me.

There were dozens of empty, not-in-service buses returning to the depot via a side street, and they were moving ahead of the backed-up traffic. These empty buses were given the right of way at the very spot where the traffic jam began. It was as if these drivers had to get back, get off duty and get home before the thousands of people still stuck in many more buses behind them.

What a total lack of responsibility on the part of KMB supervisors. They definitely need to get their priorities straight.

The blame does not lie entirely with KMB. Why didn't the road repair crew begin their work later? What's the need to interrupt traffic on this major route? I'd like to hear what KMB has to say about this.

CHEN QIZHONG Kowloon The start of a new bus franchise was heralded with great fanfare amid hope for an improved bus service - new buses, smart uniforms and hopefully better adherence to the time table.

Last Wednesday at about 8am I queued outside Choi Hung MTR to board the new 111 service to Central.

A gleaming bus pulled up with none of the fumes that poured out of the old CMB buses. The bus driver was resplendent in new uniform, the door opened, the smell of a new interior wafted out and . . . three or four empty cans and cartons were kicked out of the bus by the driver and on to the road! Great service.

Does the new franchise also provide a road sweeping service which follows their buses around town to clear up all the litter that is thrown/kicked out by their drivers? I should hope so, because if not, nothing will convince me and the rest of the environment/litter conscious public, that this all-new service is any better than the old one.

It is a real shame that given the opportunity, and some might say a privilege, to improve on the old service, the new franchise has failed to take the lead in reversing Hong Kong's ever-deteriorating attitude towards the environment.