Tendering exercises for franchised minibuses may soon be doubled in an effort to increase the number of green minibus routes. The Transport Department admitted it was considering the move in the wake of demands by minibus unions for more regulated routes. Such routes for franchised, green minibuses are usually tendered once a year. The Government today gazettes tendering of the latest batch of 27 routes, involving the conversion of 115 buses. Chan Man-chun, of the Hong Kong Scheduled GMB Licensee Association, says tendering exercises should be made twice a year. 'At the moment it is taking up to a year-and-a-half for an operator to get from tender application to commencing service, and if they are denied the tender then they have wasted an entire year,' Mr Chan said. 'Both the public and the industry would benefit greatly if this was done twice a year as then services could be implemented quicker, about six to eight months.' The Government is converting red buses to green as the latter are more easily regulated, using fixed routes at fixed fares. A spokesman said pressure to speed up conversion came not just from the industry, but also from the public and district boards. 'The main merit is operators can get the service running in about six months and the public will benefit quicker,' he said. Under today's gazetting, 15 New Territories routes will be tendered along with six routes each for Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.