Seat belts still not mandatory

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 March, 2007, 12:00am

The government will advise operators to fit new buses with seat belts, but stopped short of saying whether it would become a mandatory requirement. The suggestion follows a series of bus accidents during the past few months in which passengers were killed or severely injured after being thrown through the windscreens.

In yesterday's Legislative Council transport panel meeting, Transport Department deputy commissioner Carolina Yip Lai-ching said talks would be held with the three operators about whether they would fit seat belts on new buses. But Ms Yip would not say whether it would be made mandatory.

At present, 2,122 buses or half of the 5,862-strong bus fleet in Hong Kong have seat belts. But it would cost HK$150,000 per bus to fit seat belts on older models. Kowloon Motor Bus operations director Lui Po-chiu said that despite the roof of one of its buses peeling open in the Waterloo Road accident last year, the structure of its fleet of buses was safe.