Transport and logistics

KMB’s new red and silver buses to greet Hongkongers by end of June

City’s biggest bus operator says first batch of 70 double-deckers will start operating by then, but actual launch date has not been set

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 June, 2017, 6:03pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 June, 2017, 2:30am

The city’s biggest bus operator has rolled out a new batch of double-deckers in a bold red and silver ­livery with USB ports, free Wi-fi services and live information about seats available upstairs.

For the past two decades, Kowloon Motor Bus Company (KMB) vehicles have come in a champagne hue.

In response to speculation that the new look was inspired by red London buses, KMB said it had come up with the design.

“We named the red ‘City Red’,” said Gary Leung Ling-yin, a financial analyst turned KMB bus driver. “The colour symbolises the vitality of Hong Kong.”

The vehicles also feature an outline of the city’s skyscrapers, with the slogan “Heartbeat of the City”. Leung said 70 of the buses would be on the road by the end of the month, but a launch date had yet to be set.

The latest additions to the fleet will follow the routes of three current services, 1A, 978 and 960, which cover most parts of the city, including the heart of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.

They will each be fitted with 12 USB ports, located near designated wheelchair areas and seats on the lower and upper decks.

In addition, KMB has promised to provide free Wi-fi services on all new buses, and extend the facility to 1,000 existing vehicles by the second half of the year.

Another service aimed at making rides smoother is a screen fixed on lower decks that will show the number of passengers upstairs and seats that are empty.

In 1997, the franchised bus ­operator ditched its white colour scheme – seen on its first generation of air-conditioned buses in the early 1990s – for champagne gold. As of March last year, KMB operated 316 routes in Kowloon and the New Territories, and 61 cross-harbour routes.

With a fleet of 3,868 buses, mostly double-deckers, KMB is one of the largest road passenger transport operators in the region, carrying about 2.66 million ­people each day, according to government figures.

One man, who commutes regularly by bus, said: “In many other countries you can get Wi-fi on board, I am glad this finally has come to Hong Kong, even though it has taken a while.” However, some netizens feared the mainland-made buses would experience problems once on the road.