Bus screens running late

Local | Jane Cheung 16 May 2019

Screens showing wait times are being added to 1,300 bus stops, but they have only been installed at a fifth of the stops over the past two years.

There were only 283 bus stops that had screens by the end of 2018, and another 990 should be completed by the end of 2020, secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan wrote yesterday in a reply to Democratic Party lawmaker Wu Chi-wai.

Screen installations are part of the government's policy to enhance public transport, as it has provided over HK$88 million in funding for franchised bus companies to install devices at 1,300 bus stops supplied with electricity.

The installation work was planned to be completed in three phases. However, the first phase, which concluded at the end of 2018, only saw 20 percent installed.

"The franchised bus companies plan to proceed with the second and third phases of the installation work at about 990 bus stops by the end of 2020," he said.

Among them, Sha Tin district has 119 stations, the highest number among all districts.

Kwun Tong has 90 stations with uninstalled screens, while there are 82 in Tai Po.

Chan said in the past five years, the five franchised bus companies - Kowloon Motor Bus, Citybus, Long Win Bus, New World First Bus and New Lantau Bus - have introduced a total of 194 bus routes and cancelled 54. Among them, KMB cancelled 35 routes.

Chan said the Transport Department noted that the average rate of lost bus routes increased last year, mainly due to a lack of drivers.

"The department has requested bus companies to improve the remuneration of bus captains, take more proactive and effective action in bus captain recruitment and review the duration of the concerned bus routes with regard to actual traffic conditions," he said.

Since KMB launched monthly passes last March, the bus operator has sold an average of 15,000 passes each month.

The daily patronage also increased from 2.82 million to 2.89 million.

Apart from the monthly pass scheme, the commissioning of new infrastructure, such as the Guangzhou--Shenzhen--Hong Kong Express Rail Link, the introduction of new bus routes and other fare concessions have also driven passenger growth, Chan said.

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