KMB to phase out older buses
Kowloon Motor Bus intends to phase out within three years its 400-plus buses built before 1992 in favour of less polluting models.
The other main franchised bus operators, New World First Bus and Citybus, have pledged to phase out their 90 pre-1992 models - known as pre-Euro because they began operating before the European Union began setting emissions standards in 1992 - by 2012. They will also phase out more than 400 Euro I buses - which meet the EU's 1992 standards - by then.
KMB principal engineer Kane Shum Yuet-hung said although it operated 401 pre-Euro buses, they had long ago been upgraded to meet the Euro I standards. Likewise its 943 Euro I buses had been upgraded to meet the 1996 Euro II standards.
By next year, when fitting of particulate filters to its 1,675 Euro II and III buses was finished, the emissions of its fleet would be 90 per cent less than they were in 1992.
'After [this upgrade], I guarantee you will never again see black smoke coming from a bus exhaust pipe,' Mr Shum said.
He said the Transport Department had approved its purchase of 145 Euro IV buses that met 2005 EU standards, delivery of which was expected this year. KMB would seek approval later to buy another 256 of the buses to complete the phase-out.
Pre-Euro and Euro I buses accounted for half the 100 tonnes of respirable suspended particles (RSPs) and nitrogen oxides franchised buses emitted in 2006. Euro IV buses emit 97 per cent less RSPs than pre-Euro buses, 61 per cent less nitrogen oxides and 81 per cent less hydrocarbons.
Meanwhile, opposition to another measure to improve air quality rose, with some taxi drivers threatening industrial action unless granted a hot-weather exemption from a proposed ban on idling engines.
But Secretary for the Environment Edward Yau Tang-wah told lawmakers that such an exemption would be unfair to pedestrians, who would feel uncomfortable inhaling engine exhaust on hot days.