Bus company environmentally conscious

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 April, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 April, 1999, 12:00am

We refer to the letter from Young Poo Hee headlined, 'The price of bus efficiency' (South China Morning Post, April 20), and are pleased that there is recognition given to the vast improvement which has occurred recently in the bus services on Hong Kong Island.

We would, however, take issue with the comment that bus services are secondary to mass transit systems and that bus companies are sacrificing the environment for bus efficiency.

Bus travel is preferred by millions of daily commuters who opt for a comfortable seat, value-for-money, door-to-door service and landscapes and harbour scenes that are not available on some transport modes.

Buses also provide a vital link to and from rail stations including those situated within the heart of the Central business district.

In addition, the number of buses allocated to each route is carefully planned, taking into account the expected demand in the peak period at the peak loading point, the latter not necessarily being situated in Queensway or Central.

Business districts are usually alighting locations where most passengers get off the vehicles.

Indeed, a bus seen in these areas has probably just carried patronage equivalent to that of eight minibuses, if not 26 private cars.

As an environmentally conscious company, New World First Bus has brought in new buses equipped with engines of Euro II standard and already more than 250 of these buses have been delivered. The Euro II-standard engine is the latest engine design with the lowest emissions available on the market to date.

For the remainder of the fleet, we plan to replace the old engines with new ones and use catalytic converters. These engines will then match Euro II standards.

Moreover, we are progressively phasing out all of the older non-air-conditioned buses so that by the end of this year, the exhaust emissions of our vehicles will be cut radically.

All buses are required to undergo regular monthly emission inspections to ensure compliance with the stringent environmental standards set by the Government.

In addition, New World First Bus continues to work with the Government to explore the introduction of ultra-low-sulphur diesel, which is being used by FirstGroup in the UK and has been proven to be as environmentally friendly as liquefied petroleum gas, when used with Euro II engines.

Maintaining a desirable environment requires the collective effort of all road users. We shall persist in devoting our best efforts to this end and welcome the reporting by passengers of any buses with high emissions to our customer service hotline - 2136-8888.

KIAN NG Public Affairs Manager New World First Bus Services Limited