Bus service increase, not competition, 'to blame for traffic jams'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 June, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 June, 1999, 12:00am

Traffic jams in Wan Chai were not caused by the competition for passengers by New World First Bus and Citybus, the Secretary for Transport said yesterday.

Neither the number of buses nor the overall traffic flow had surged significantly since First Bus took over services on Hong Kong Island from China Motor Bus, Nicholas Ng Wing-fui said.

The number of buses had increased from 1,220 to 1,270 and traffic flow had risen by only four per cent since First Bus took over the franchise from CMB in September.

Mr Ng said: 'People always think keen competition between First Bus and Citybus has increased congestion. It is not the case.' He attributed the congestion to the increase in bus services linking Kowloon West and Hong Kong Island after the opening of the Western Harbour Tunnel and Tai Lam Tunnel.

An additional 1,000 stoppings were recorded for buses travelling through Wan Chai and Central to the two tunnels.

But congestion was reduced by the redistribution of bus stops on Hennessy Road and Morrison Hill Road early last month, Mr Ng said.

Total bus stoppings in that area, involving 67 routes, had been reduced in peak hours from 3,200 to 2,600.

Mr Ng said the rationalisation of bus stops in Wan Chai had been well-received, although there had been 10 complaints on the increase in walking distance to stops.