EUROPEAN bus manufacturers, including Dennis Group and Volvo Bus, are vying for a second $500 million vehicle order from New World First Bus. This follows the award of contracts worth $500 million to Dennis and chassis builder Walter Alexander for the supply of 202 Dennis Trident double-decker and 42 Dennis Dart single-deck buses. Some of the new buses, which cost $3 million each, are due for delivery by September 1 when New World First Bus takes over 88 routes previously operated by China Motor Bus (CMB). New World First Bus spokesman Kwan Chuk-fai confirmed that a second bus order would be placed in the next few weeks. 'We are looking at another 200 plus vehicles. We have not yet decided on a supplier, but we will be making a decision quite soon,' he said. Dennis may have the edge as it won the first contract and has supplied most of the buses used by existing operators Citybus, Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) and CMB. But Volvo Bus, which bought Leyland two years ago, is probably a stronger contender because it also supplies vehicles to Citybus and KMB and Dennis is already committed to fulfilling the first order. Two German manufacturers, MAN and Neoplan, are also keen to win the contract because so far they have sold buses only to Citybus and are seeking to increase market share. Mr Kwan said the new contracts would fulfil a pledge to the Government, made when the company tendered for the former CMB franchise earlier this year, to put 500 new buses on the road in the next two years. Dennis would supply as many buses as it could by the September deadline, but Mr Kwan confirmed New World First Bus would have to use some CMB vehicles to maintain bus schedules. 'There will be a mix of brand new and older CMB buses. We are still discussing with CMB whether we buy or hire their vehicles,' he said. Meanwhile, New World First Bus will also appoint an architect in the next few weeks to design a new bus garage at Shing Tai Road in Chai Wan. The state-of-the-art complex will include maintenance facilities, offices, a bodywork repair shop and a paint works. Construction of the building is being co-ordinated by staff in New World Development. The building should be operational in two years. The company also plans to invest in a global positioning system (GPS) to improve the reliability of its vehicles. Initially, the GPS equipment will be installed in the buses to provide passengers accurate information about journey times. But New World First Bus plans to extend the system and will fit electronic signboards at bus stops to give passengers real-time information about bus arrivals and departures.