KMB focused on transport efficiency and environmental protection
I would like to respond to the letter written by Mr Wilkie Wong ("Too many buses are less than half full", June 16), in which the author questioned the need for 12.8-metre long buses when many buses do not seem full.
The reason why KMB has brought larger buses to Hong Kong is that we would like to reduce the number of buses on the roads, which will ease traffic congestion and help the environment. As each 12.8-metre bus has nearly 10 per cent more capacity, this essentially means a 10 per cent reduction in the number of buses needed for carrying the same number of passengers.
The deployment of such buses is especially useful in areas where road space is limited but passenger demand is growing. Rather than simply adding more buses to meet demand, we can substitute existing buses with 12.8-metre ones. Moreover, longer buses provide more seats - in customer surveys, our passengers have told us that having comfortable seats is a factor in choosing KMB.
Mr Wong also mentioned he had seen long lines of buses that were only half full. Although this is a commonly observed phenomenon, the cause of it is often misunderstood. Firstly, it is true that buses on some routes are half empty and considerably underutilised. These routes are subject to restructuring - KMB has been working with the government on a territory-wide route reorganisation programme since last year.
The objective is to redeploy resources from routes with low patronage to those with high and growing demand. We completed the programme for North District last year and are working on several districts concurrently now. We envisage that this route reorganisation programme will be rolled out to urban areas in due course.
Secondly, some half-full buses have been completely full a few stops back. For example, at 8.30am, a long line of buses may be seen on Gloucester Road near the bus stop at the old Wai Chai police station. Most of these buses are full of passengers they picked up at their "peak loading points", who are now preparing to disembark. By the time these buses arrive in Central, they are only half full, but this does not necessarily mean that their respective routes are underutilised.
It is the nature of public transport that different routes exist to serve passengers with different origins and destinations. It is also worth mentioning that buses are by far the most efficient mode of road transport, and we greatly appreciate motorists who give way to public buses.
Evan Auyang, KMB deputy managing director