Fewer than 13 per cent of people on Hong Kong island are optimistic about the possible merger of its two main bus companies, a Democratic Party survey has found. The poll of 1,392 Hong Kong island residents last week came after Scotland-based Stagecoach Group agreed to sell Citybus to Cheng Yu-tung's Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, the ultimate owner of transportation rival New World First Bus, for $2.2 billion on June 9. Only 12.9 per cent of the survey's respondents believed bus services would improve if the two companies merged, while 38.3 per cent thought services would get worse. And only 14.9 per cent thought fares would be cut, while 40.7 per cent said they would probably increase. Democratic Party chairman Yeung Sum said residents living in the southern and western parts of the island were most worried about a possible merger. 'People from these two areas are pretty dependent on the bus services, since the MTR does not serve their neighbourhood,' he said. 'They are worried about a possible monopoly because of the bad experience they had with China Motor Bus.' The now-defunct China Motor Bus was stripped of its franchise in 1998 after transport officials said it had refused to meet demands for improvements. Mr Yeung added that while his party did not oppose a merger of the two companies, the interests of Hong Kong island residents should be taken into account by the government in assessing the impact of the merger. 'We believe there should be competition so prices will be kept low,' he said. 'This can be done by introducing another bus company to compete in the market.'