KMB invests HK$1b in new-generation greener buses

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 December, 2012, 8:35pm
UPDATED : Friday, 28 December, 2012, 8:35pm

Kowloon Motor Bus will introduce new double-decker buses to the city’s streets that use less fuel and emit less pollution than many of its current buses – whose engines already meet the Euro V emission standards introduced in 2008.

KMB, the city’s largest bus operator, has purchased, at the cost of HK$1 billion, 370 “new-generation” E500 buses built by British manufacturer Alexander Dennis Limited.

The new E500 buses will be in service starting from March next year and will be used on routes connecting the city centre with towns in the New Territories, such as Sheung Shui, Tin Shui Wai and Yuen Long.

The new buses were 5 per cent lighter and would emit 10 per cent less carbon that the current E500 model, but allow them to take on 10 per cent more passengers, KMB said. There will also be fuel savings for the company from a more efficient air-conditioning system and internal LED lighting.

The new-generation buses “are equipped with the most environment-friendly Euro V [emissions standard] engine on the market, whose chassis is compatible with future Euro VI engine development and even the hybrid or battery-electric driveline,” KMB said on Friday.

The company also planned to introduce buses with Euro VI [emission standard] engines, which were now being tested in Europe, late next year, said James Louey, KMB’s commercial director.

Louey would not comment on whether the new purchases would generate pressure to increase bus fares, noting that uncontrollable costs such as fuel, tyres and salaries were increasing. He said he hoped the new buses would help reduce the cost of business over their 17-year lifespan.

As the fleet ages, we will replace the old buses with the new ones as we promised with the government, said Louey.

The company plans to spend over HK$5 billion to replace 1,800 of its buses – almost half of KMB’s fleet – in the coming five years, he said.

Three hybrid-fuelled buses will be added to the fleet in the middle of 2014.