REFERRING to Tony Ip's letter 'More buses badly needed' (South China Morning Post, October 26) regarding the bus service on route 51.
At present, we are deploying nine double-deck buses for this route.
Under normal circumstances, this should be adequate to meet the demand during both the morning and evening peak hours. However, there are several factors affecting the service on route 51.
The steep slopes and sharp bends on Route Twisk are highly demanding in terms of the mechanical endurance of vehicles. Buses have to undergo special modifications before they can be deployed on this route.
Even so, the severe gradients can damage mechanical parts and shorten the lifespan of vehicles.
As a result, the bus fleet on this route is more susceptible to mechanical breakdown and vehicle shortage, despite the fact that we have reserved a disproportionately high number of spare modified buses - four against nine scheduled buses.
Owing to the limited bus type we can use for this route, our flexibility to deploy additional buses is restricted.
However, we are constantly testing and researching new bus types that could be operated on Route Twisk.
Heavy rainfall and flooding in the district further aggravated the situation in the past few months.
Fortunately, with the return of finer weather in October, we have noticed that the frequency of vehicle breakdown is on the decline.
We would like to assure Mr Ip that we will continue to monitor the service and make further arrangements if necessary.
WINNIE NG for the Kowloon Motor Bus Co