Bus firms buckle down to safety work

Top News | Jane Cheung 13 Sep 2018

Kowloon Motor Bus and Long Win Bus plan to spend HK$200 million to install seat belts on their entire fleets from next year and are considering implementing a system that prevents drivers from falling asleep at the wheel.

Senior management from the SAR's biggest bus operators told the Independent Review Committee on Hong Kong's Franchised Bus Service yesterday that they will start installing seat belts in all their buses, including newly purchased ones, in 2019.

The sister bus firms will also install seat belts on 1,000 older buses that cover longer routes.

It will cost HK$200,000 to install seat belts on each bus, with the total amount expected to hit HK$200 million, they said.

They added there are about 4,200 buses operating by the two companies and confirmed that seat belts will gradually be installed in all buses except old ones, as they will be replaced in two to three years.

KMB managing director Roger Lee Chak-cheong said the company will have to research the impact the additional seat belts will have on a bus' center of gravity.

He said the seat belts will add extra weight to the upper deck and might affect the bus' center of gravity. As a result, the installation process will only begin after a comprehensive safety check has been conducted.

KMB chairman Norman Leung Nai-pang said the bus operator has held discussions with the Transport and Housing Bureau and Transport Department about a sponsorship to support the seat belt installation.

Current guidelines only require passengers sitting on the first row on the upper deck and exposed seats to buckle up.

The companies also conducted a trial for an anti-dozing system earlier this year and found it to be effective.

Leung said if the system detects that drivers may be dozing at the wheel, a visual and audio alarm will be triggered to alert them.

A review committee was established in March after an accident in Tai Po in February resulted in the deaths of 19 people.

jane.cheung@singtaonewscorp.com

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