The Kowloon Motor Bus company is seeking approval to operate single-deckers on more than 10 routes now plied by double-deckers, a move which may face resistance from district councils.
The routes are mainly in the New Territories, though KMB refused to specify which ones. The proposal needs approval from district councils and the Transport Department.
North district councillor Lau Kwok-fan said councils had to ensure passengers living in remote areas did not need to stand too long in their journeys. Lau noted that passengers living in northern districts needed to travel for more than an hour to reach Hong Kong Island - a tiring journey for those who have to stand.
Kowloon Motor Bus yesterday announced it was introducing 60 new single-deck buses, to replace retired single-deck buses and to run on new routes. It hopes to have them on the road next year.
Running single-deckers on lesser-used routes was a better use of resources, the bus company said.
'Since 2009, KMB has been conducting trials of single-deckers on Routes 5D, 7M, 24, 73K and 81M. After trials, the occupancy rate is increased by 10 to 20 per cent, while the fuel consumption is reduced by 40 per cent' said Ho Chi-man, KMB's head of depots.
The company also touted environmental advantages, saying emissions of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides from the Euro V engine are reduced by 94 and 79 per cent, respectively, compared with the Euro I engines in the retired buses.
'I am glad that the bus company is willing to run single-deck buses as the pollutants emitted by double-deck buses are more than that of single-deck buses,' said Vivian Ngan Wai-may, campaign officer of the Clean Air Network.