PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Hong Kong bus operator Kowloon Motor Bus Company granted new 10-year franchise

It also pledges to invest HK$3.8 billion to purchase more than 1,000 new buses

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 March, 2017, 7:24pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 March, 2017, 10:14pm

Kowloon Motor Bus Company (KMB) can continue its services in Hong Kong for another 10 years, after the Executive Council granted it a new franchise, effective from July until 2027.

A government spokesman on Tuesday claimed KMB had rendered proper and efficient services since its current franchise started in 2007. He said the company would be spending HK$3.8 billion to add about 1,380 buses to replace older vehicles until 2021. The addition will account for 35 per cent of its fleet.

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KMB said yesterday that full-time students would enjoy lower fares under its new long-haul route fare concession plan. The scheme will allow students to pay only half the fare price on their return trips on daytime routes solely operated by KMB. The concession applies to adult fares priced HK$12 and higher, and will be available on 80 routes.

In addition, KMB will partner Hong Kong Tramways to offer bus-to-tram interchange fare concessions, and expand its intra-network bus-to-bus interchange concessions. It said it would align fares for short-haul trips on cross-district and shuttle bus routes.

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KMB will also implement various new initiatives to enhance passenger experience, including offering free Wi-fi service in bus compartments, upgrading ancillary facilities at bus stops, setting up more shelters, providing information on real-time arrivals and upper deck seat vacancies, and improving the transport experience for disabled persons.

The government spokesman added that KMB had agreed to conduct a review of the concession scheme for students six months following its implementation after taking into account the views of legislators.

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“The government will also continue to explore with KMB the feasibility of introducing more practicable fare concession initiatives, including monthly passes,” he said.

Founded in 1933, the bus giant operated 3,916 buses on 384 routes as of the end of last year.