Citybus says no bus for gay parade

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 December, 2008, 12:00am

Citybus has refused to rent a double-decker to organisers of the city's first gay parade tomorrow because of concerns over its 'company image'.

Gay rights activists have condemned the bus company's decision as discriminatory and a legislator and the government have asked Citybus to clarify its position.

As many as 1,000 people are expected to participate in tomorrow's Pride Parade 2008, the first large-scale gay carnival and procession in the city.

The organisers approached Citybus last Friday, planning to rent an open double-decker for the parade, which will see the participants march from Causeway Bay to Wan Chai.

Li Chun-wai, a spokesman for the organisers, said negotiations had seemed smooth until Wednesday, when the bus company wrote to reject their application.

In an e-mail, made public yesterday by Mr Li's group, the company said it would not discriminate against any party: 'When our company makes a commercial decision, we shall consider various factors, including the image of our company.'

Legislator Cyd Ho Sau-lan said: 'If the gay group had rented their buses before and had caused damage or failed to pay rent, that may be a valid reason. Citing company image is too obvious a discrimination.'

A Citybus spokeswoman yesterday reiterated that it would not discriminate against any party and that it was a commercial decision.

A spokesman for the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau said yesterday that it had 'asked Citybus for clarification' after receiving a complaint from Mr Li's group.