KOWLOON Motor Bus Co (KMB) has rejected a demand by a pressure group that proceeds from its land sale should go to a fare-stabilising fund, calling such a move illogical and unreasonable. Managing director John Chan Cho-chak said yesterday: 'We are a listed company and land sales are normal investment activities. 'Why is a bus company different from any other business?' Land sales, which boosted the company's interim profit by 715 per cent this year, happened only rarely and Mr Chan said no other property sale was planned for next year. KMB now has seven properties on leased land, three others on land that came from private-treaty grants with land use strictly confined to bus operations and four pieces of land which they bought over the years in auctions. Mr Chan said the two pieces of land sold this year with proceeds totalling $1.7 billion, one in Kwai Chung and one in Kwun Tong, belonged to the last category. They served as depots before the sale and KMB had also informed the Transport Department of the disposal. The consensus was that the two depots were not contributing much to the company's operation. KMB has a capped profit growth of less than 10 per cent per year and no major breakthrough is in sight. Cutting costs and improving quality of service to attract a bigger customer base are the strategies the utility is now adopting. As a utility, KMB faces the public glare with each fare increase and the percentage increase in the coming fare rise in April had yet to be decided, Mr Chan said. He only hinted that the rise would depend on how KMB's restructuring of route networks proceeded under the scrutiny of district boards. The 13 proposals on changes to the networking of bus routes KMB will present to district board members are mainly on route combinations, adapting to demographic changes over the years. 'With pressures from environmental groups, we also have to switch to quality fuel which is less polluting and that means a higher cost; and that will also be reflected in bus fares,' Mr Chan said. He said the profit control scheme included in the franchise had been ignored by the Government and that he looked for a mild rate rise that would stir up less controversy.