En route to big success in a year

CITYBUS managing director Lyndon Rees said there was enormous growth potential in the Network 26 markets.

''We have initially adopted a modest approach,'' he said.

''But we believe that with the provision of clean, well-maintained, good-quality buses, driven by courteous and considerate drivers, this suppressed demand for public bus services will grow considerably in the years ahead.

''The anticipated passenger growth we have built into our forecasts for the first year is five per cent in the first quarter and two to six per cent compound in the three succeeding quarters, making for an average of 18.7 per cent passenger ridership in the first year.'' Mr Rees said that on all the main trunk routes ''we will use the highest possible passenger capacity vehicles''.

''We have bought 52 three-axle, air-conditioned double-deckers [each] with a passenger capacity of 165 and these will form the backbone of all trunk routes in the years ahead.'' Some routes would be served initially by secondhand buses that carried 100 passengers to evenly spread capital investment and the fleet-age profile. These would be upgraded to the 165-passenger vehicles.

Where vehicle length restrictions applied along main routes, a smaller coach would be used.

Bus cabins would be more comfortably laid out: four-across, good-quality seating, rather than the more crowded five-across configuration.

Buses will no longer leave the terminus full, or overcrowded.

In the past, Network 26 routes left the terminus full, rendering the service useless to en route passengers.

He said that where necessary, the frequency of departures from the terminus would be adjusted and surges in passenger demand during office, school and factory closing times would be monitored.

Intervals between departures will be more evenly spaced to avoid uncoordinated ''bunching'', or long waits between buses.

''Our new computerised system linking all bus terminals with our main system in Lai Chi Kok headquarters will help us monitor bus movements and pick up early on any problems,'' Mr Rees said.

''And all buses will be equipped with two-way radio for better control and optimum efficiency.''