“The Kowloon Motor Bus Company [KMB] are expecting delivery shortly of a double-decker motor bus from England with which they will make experimental runs on the Peninsula,” ran a story in the South China Morning Post on December 1, 1937.
The exercise in Kowloon was proposed in the face of rising traffic, but by the start of 1939, the vehicle had not materialised. On February 2 of that year, the Post reported: “Two Kowloon motor buses, on which wooden super structures have been built to represent the height of the proposed double-decker buses, will shortly travel along Nathan Road […] Upon the result of this experiment lies the fate of the highway’s famous trees.”
Two years later, there were still no double deckers. “Owing to the cancellation of export permits from Great Britain, Hongkong will not have any double-decker buses until after the European War,” the Post said on June 18, 1941. “The fact remains that should the war in Europe last much longer, Hongkong will find itself definitely short of buses.”
It was not until April 11, 1946 that the Post picked up the story again. “There is no possibility of new buses arriving in Hongkong until the early part of next year [...] During the occupation the entire fleet of buses, together with equipment, machinery, plant and spare parts were confiscated by the Japanese.”
Almost a decade after it was first discussed, KMB conducted its experiment.
“A trial run on the routes to be used was recently made by what might be described as a skeleton double-decker bus [...] Using the chassis of a standard pattern bus, the Kowloon Motor Bus Company had built on it a framework of bamboo to represent the dimensions of the proposed new bus,” the Post reported on April 15, 1948. “It will only be necessary to remove one or two tree branches on the routes concerned.”
On April 17, 1949, the fleet was on the road. “Four new double decker buses of the Kowloon Motor Bus Company were put into service in the Star Ferry and Kowloon City run yesterday,” ran a Post story the next day.