Buses - solution rather than the problem

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 February, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 February, 1999, 12:00am

We refer to the letter from Graham Bodell (South China Morning Post, January 25), regarding the number of franchised buses operating on Hong Kong Island.

As a responsible corporate citizen and commercially viable company, we at New World First Bus are only too conscious of our responsibility not to allow unnecessary buses to be despatched on to Hong Kong's roads.

The number of buses allocated to each route is in fact a derivative of the demand pattern expected in the peak period at the peak loading point, the latter not necessarily being situated in the heart of Central.

A further key factor influencing the number of buses to be deployed is the vehicle carrying capacity. The lower a vehicle's capacity, the greater the number of vehicles needed to meet demand.

Your correspondent's advocacy of the use of more low-capacity single-decker buses is thus inconsistent with his desire to see a less congested road network and indeed, by extension, his regular patronage of a minibus service to/from the Central Business District is perhaps ironic, as up to 11 minibuses are required to carry the load of just one of our maximum capacity double-decker buses. We should avoid emotive debate when discussing the contribution that buses make to the all too self-evident manifestations of environmental degradation in the SAR.

In fact, the ubiquitous bus, in its traditional double-deck form, may be seen as the solution rather than the problem so far as the issues of pollution and congestion are concerned.

Not only is it capable of carrying out efficient and comfortable door to door mass movement of people, it is particularly well suited to the use of low emission fuels such as low or ultra-low sulphur diesel, the latter of which has been proven to be a no less environmentally unfriendly fuel than liquefied petroleum gas.

New World First Bus continues to work with the Government to explore the introduction of even more environmentally friendly engines and fuels in its increasingly modern and state of the art bus fleet.

Already over 200 new buses have been delivered with green 'Euro II' regulation engines and indeed the entire fleet is using low sulphur diesel.

Moreover, we continue to work in partnership with the Transport Department in introducing measures to improve traffic flow in the Central Business District and to this end, good progress has been made with a series of bus route and bus-stop rationalisations already planned or implemented. These have included the selective cancellation, truncation and re-routing of bus services in Central.

MARK SAVELLI Operation Director New World First Bus Services Limited