• Thu
  • Nov 27, 2014
  • Updated: 12:23pm
CommentLetters

Too many buses inefficiently serving Hong Kong's urban areas

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 October, 2013, 11:11pm

I refer to the report, ("Removing old buses saves lives, says study", September 17).

We at KMB would say that it is not only realistic, but also desirable, to remove older buses from Hong Kong's roads. This is not only good for the environment, but also good for our economy.

However, there is a more cost-effective way to do this: remove buses by improving efficiency. While replacing buses is financially costly, pushing efficiency costs nothing, with impact as large (if not larger) than technological upgrades.

The fact is that we have simply too many buses inefficiently serving several urban areas of Hong Kong. For example, in the five districts of Kowloon alone (Sham Shui Po, Kowloon City, Kwun Tong, Wong Tai Sin, Yau Tsim Mong), KMB has nearly 1,000 buses dedicated to serve these areas. Many routes are not only duplicated with the MTR, but also minibus routes and KMB's own routes.

The government is currently working with bus operators to reorganise bus routes for greater efficiency, but the progress is far too slow. With only 5 per cent of the network reorganised after nine months of intense consultation and lobbying work with the districts, it would take over 10 years to complete this exercise if the decision-making after consultations could not be expedited.

Moreover, route reorganisation itself is insufficient to tackle the inefficiencies of road-based public transport.

While the government has shown great foresight in building up a world-class railway system as the backbone of Hong Kong's public transport system, there is insufficient investment and policy support to ensure road-based mass transport is efficient to complement the railway system.

Our roads are increasingly congested with no signs of abatement.

For example, 99 per cent of KMB's bus routes experienced an increase in journey times at an average of 16 per cent during the past five years. Average bus speeds could be increased by 25 per cent in our city, which would translate into a reduction of over 1,000 buses on our roads while keeping the same service frequencies and at faster journey times. Picking this "low-hanging fruit" means that we can simply remove these buses without needing to upgrade them.

In high-density international cities such as London, Singapore, Seoul and Taipei, there is policy focus on mass transport efficiency. Average bus speeds are always monitored and simple actions such as traffic enforcement at "black spots" have been effective.

Evan Auyang, deputy managing director, KMB

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This article is now closed to comments

wwong888
this city is run by morons with no balls. you are spot on.
fsk999
Hong Kong used to be a place where officials were not afraid to take decisions and implement them and, if mistakes were made, take responsibility for them and move on. Now the expression "Doh zhou, doh chor; siu zhou, siu chor; mh zhou, mh chor" holds sway, at least in the eyes of the long suffering public. (Do more, more mistakes; do less, less mistakes; do nothing, no mistakes).
rpasea
Agree completely. KMB wanted to rationalize some 190 routes recently but district councilors vetoed it for political reasons resulting in only a few routes being affected. I dare say KMB better understands what is needed vis a vis bus service than govt bureaucrats or certainly district councilors!
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With Octopus cards now in very wide use, data should be readily available regarding what routes and what bus stops are frequented during the course of the day. Adjust bus routes and schedules accordingly.
captam
@"Our roads are increasingly congested with no signs of abatement."
This the sole reason your buses are running inefficiently.
If Government reduced private cars and vans in down-town areas your buses would be carrying heavier passenger loads and be able to run to schedule. It is a vicious cycle. The more cars the more congestion and less efficient the bus service becomes. With an aging population, Government cannot expect all the elderly to walk long distances to MTR stations and then have to stand squashed in crowded carriages for long periods. There has to be the option of a seat on a bus, even if some routes are duplicated.
It's traffic CONGESTION, CONGESTION, CONGESTION that's the problem . Are you listening CY?

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