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Old February 16th, 2010, 02:49 PM   #921
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Old February 20th, 2010, 09:15 PM   #922
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Old February 24th, 2010, 05:30 PM   #923
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Bus union up in arms over driving hours
22 February 2010
South China Morning Post

Angry Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) drivers will complain to the Ombudsman about the transport authority's lax supervision during the past 15 years over what they call the bus company's "inhumane work scheduling" for holidays.

The KMB Staff Union said many drivers, especially those on permanent terms, were not allowed to take days off during the Lunar New Year holiday last week. Some had been asked to work continuously for 10 days before they could take a day off. and some were forced to work for as long as 11 hours a day.The union went on to claim that many drivers on contract terms elected to take some days off during the holiday, thus further straining the manpower pool.

Its chairman Kwok Wai-kwong yesterday said: "We have raised the issue with management but it does not listen. And over the years, we have also repeatedly raised it with the Transport Department. But nothing has been done.

"It is obviously maladministration on the department side. We are fed up and we shall complain to the Ombudsman," added Kwok.

Public concerns over bus drivers' long working hours rose after two KMB double-deckers collided in Shing Mun Tunnel in Sha Tin last Tuesday. Both drivers and 23 passengers were injured when one bus rammed another from behind.

According to Kwok, the driver of the bus was exhausted after working continuosly since February 13, during which he spent some 11 hours on the road each day.

KMB is the largest bus operator in Hong Kong, with more than 3,900 buses and more than 12,000 staff. It operates 399 bus routes, ferrying more than 2.7 million passengers every day.

Democrat Andrew Cheng Kar-foo, deputy chairman of the Legislative Council transport panel, said: "It is not acceptable to ask a driver to work continuously without proper breaks. Such an arrangement puts passengers' lives at risk."

The Transport Department yesterday said drivers' rest times were a matter of concern and it would meet bus companies to study arrangements for working hours and drivers' rest times.

A KMB spokesman yesterday rejected the union's allegations, saying the company ensured drivers had proper rest and days off.
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Old February 25th, 2010, 06:21 PM   #924
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Old February 27th, 2010, 07:41 AM   #925
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Public transport to see cash in go-green push
25 February 2010
The Standard

A HK$300 million fund to encourage the public transport industry to use more innovative green technologies will be set up, John Tsang said.

According to a source, the government plans to subsidize bus, minibus and taxi operators who switch to or buy hybrid vehicles, as well as ferry firms that adopt emission-control technologies.

The level of subsidies, application criteria and the models of preferred vehicles will be set with advice from lawmakers, the source added.

``We want vehicle owners to try to use innovative green technologies,'' Tsang said. ``Most buses now run on diesel.''

Tsang said hybrid vehicles generally emit 30 percent less greenhouse gases than their diesel counterparts.

The source expects the fund to be rolled out in the coming financial year starting in April.

``We believe the scheme will be popular,'' the source said. ``As the price of diesel sometimes goes sky-high, drivers can spend less on fuel if they switch to hybrid vehicles.''

He said a diesel double-decker bus now costs about HK$3 million while a hybrid model may cost some 50 to 100 percent more.

But the operational costs of hybrid models may be cheaper in the long run, he added.

He said there are no hybrid ferries currently available in the market, but companies can seek subsidies to retrofit their ferries to make them less polluting.

A KMB spokeswoman said the company is open to any campaign to widen the use of renewable energy in vehicles.

Tsang also announced a three-year HK$540 million subsidy scheme for the replacement of Euro II diesel commercial vehicles from July.

The source said owners can get one- off subsidies equivalent to 18 percent of the taxable value of the Euro IV or more modern models.

To convince companies, Tsang proposed a ``100 percent profits tax deduction in the first year'' for those that switch to electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles and other green commercial vehicles.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 07:16 PM   #926
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Old March 4th, 2010, 07:53 PM   #927
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7.5pc pay rise sought for bus drivers
2 March 2010
South China Morning Post

A new round of pay negotiations between bus operators and drivers began yesterday as the biggest union representing staff of five companies proposed an increase of 5 to 7.5 per cent.

The move by the Motor Transport Workers General Union signalled the opening of an annual skirmish that starts in February and normally reaches its climax in the summer. The negotiations have often sparked threats of industrial action.

Last year the bidding also opened at 5 to 7 per cent but the unions in the end accepted pay rises of 1.5 to 1.6 per cent offered by Kowloon Motor Bus, sister company Long Win, New World First Bus and sister company Citybus together with one-off bonuses ranging from HK$250 to HK$1,000.

But the deputy director of the Motor Transport Workers General Union, Chung Kin-wah, is optimistic that employers will be more generous this year.

"The companies raised fares, which means they must be earning a better profit, to which all staff contributed their efforts," said Chung, whose union is affiliated to the Federation of Trade Unions.

The four companies, together with New Lantao Bus, imposed fare rises of 2 to 7.24 per cent in mid-2008. Bus drivers and technicians of New Lantao Bus, which last year established a branch of the Motor Transport Workers General Union, joined the talks for the first time this year.

New Lantao Bus has about 300 drivers, compared with about 8,000 at Kowloon Motor Bus and Long Win, and 3,800 at New World First Bus and Citybus.

The rival Confederation of Trade Unions, which represents some drivers in New World First Bus and Citybus, is still discussing the size of the increase it will seek.

It says it expects to make a decision by the end of this week.
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Old March 5th, 2010, 05:16 PM   #928
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Old March 6th, 2010, 08:32 PM   #929
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Old March 7th, 2010, 06:04 PM   #930
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Just noticed the return of the 2-axle bus, so ugly. I never liked them, even back in the day, and now with the modern look they look even stranger. Double-deckers are so much better balanced with 3 axles.

And what's with the rails in front of the citybus?
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Old March 7th, 2010, 06:54 PM   #931
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gladisimo View Post
Just noticed the return of the 2-axle bus, so ugly. I never liked them, even back in the day, and now with the modern look they look even stranger. Double-deckers are so much better balanced with 3 axles.

And what's with the rails in front of the citybus?
2-axle has better maneuverability, and less costly to build and maintain.
Operationally, it is actually better with one axle less. (In fact, it is cheaper for tunnel tolls in HK as well.)
For the most park, it has been the regulations in HK forcing the import of 3-axle, not necessarily from the operation or material point of view.

I believe the rails in front of the citybus are tree guards, pushing the branches out before they hit the windshield, or at least minimize the impacts. NWFB used to have the tree guards installed as well on the 14XX series, but have been taken out gradually and I believe none of them has it anymore.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 03:55 AM   #932
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricIsHim View Post
I believe the rails in front of the citybus are tree guards, pushing the branches out before they hit the windshield, or at least minimize the impacts. NWFB used to have the tree guards installed as well on the 14XX series, but have been taken out gradually and I believe none of them has it anymore.
So they're not bicycle racks.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 04:00 AM   #933
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So they're not bicycle racks.
I don't think you can hang the bike on the second floor of the bus. lol
In fact, I would imagine the American's style bike rack will never be approved by the Transport Department
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Old March 8th, 2010, 04:11 AM   #934
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I don't think you can hang the bike on the second floor of the bus. lol
In fact, I would imagine the American's style bike rack will never be approved by the Transport Department
Ah .. that little bar that extends from one side of the bus upstairs .. now I get you.
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 03:40 PM   #935
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Old April 8th, 2010, 06:04 PM   #936
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Campaign to keep bus terminal goes up a gear
29 March 2010
SCMP

The Tsim Sha Tsui bus terminal is considered by many to be an ugly, messy blight on the landscape of no historic value. The government believes the public would be better served with a piazza in its place.

Leslie Chan Ka-long, 30, and thousands of members of the Our Bus Terminal group are aware of those views but they do not agree. They also know they lack the support of professionals normally outspoken in the area of heritage preservation.

Yet their campaign is gaining momentum.

A Facebook group set up to represent their views now boasts 8,000 members, seemingly swelled as heritage preservation moves into mainstream consciousness - as witnessed by the large protest against the proposed high-speed railway link to Guangzhou.

"This is very good news as we know many regular people are behind our cause," Chan said.

The campaign to protect the Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry bus terminus is set to escalate after conservationists' success last week in preserving Wing Lee Street in Central.

Chan - well connected with the Central and Western Concern Group that lobbied persistently for the preservation of the street for years - said they were excited but nervous when the Urban Renewal Authority offered to preserve all 12 buildings there.

Our Bus Terminal is lining up with other young activists, including Green Sense and those who protested against the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong express rail link last year, to launch another round of protests. Chan said they were also lobbying lawmakers and political parties.

The group has surveyed users of the bus terminal to discover how well they know its history and whether they are aware the government wants to turn it into a piazza.

Roy Tam, of Green Sense, said: "We support the bus terminal campaign because the bus terminal is functioning well and has great historic value to Hong Kong. We are unconvinced it should be demolished."

A series of guided bus tours, travelling between different places in Kowloon and the terminus, will be organised over Easter to underline its importance to the public.

The government wants the terminus, which has stood since the 1920s, to be replaced by a piazza. An open design competition is under way, with results to be announced in the next two months. Officials have stressed that most of the 14 bus routes using the terminus will not be cancelled but will stop at a new terminal outside the Cultural Centre.

The Antiquities and Monument Office has said the terminus has no heritage value.

However, Chan believes that the government should respect the land use, and the people's right to use public space. "If this place is turned into a piazza, only tourists, the rich and the middle class can afford to enjoy it."

He said moving the terminus might also affect ferry passengers and jeopardise ferry business.

The terminus, the Star Ferry pier and Kowloon railway station have connected Tsim Sha Tsui with the rest of Hong Kong and Guangzhou since the early 1920s. The pier and bus terminus continue to function as a transport hub, bringing passengers to the Star Ferry despite demolition of the railway station."We are not arguing on the historic value of the terminus' physical structure, we are talking about land use and the people's right to use space. The United Nations calls this kind of land use historical urban landscape and it should be preserved," Chan said.

Under the UN's Hanoi Declaration announced last April, historical urban landscapes are a fundamental and integral part of the environment of communities who live within them or who have association with them. All policies relating to and affecting historic urban landscapes should respect the lifestyle of the community living and working within them.

Chan also said heritage in Kowloon was severely neglected. "Most of the places that we fought to keep, such as Queen's Pier, Central Police Station and Wing Lee Street, are on Hong Kong Island. This terminus forms a key part of people's life in Kowloon. Many historic events, including the 1967 riots, started at this terminus."

The group's campaign started in 2008 after news of the piazza plan broke, with a petition at the time drawing support from 5,000. They have also tried to get the terminus listed as a Unesco-listed site. But they failed to get support from professionals, with surveyors, architects and planners all ignoring their calls so far. Chan said a few lawmakers had now expressed their support."I know there is increasing speculation the terminus will be the next battleground but I do not really like this suggestion," he said. "It suggests we are a bunch of people looking for confrontation. We are not. We are reasonable people and we hope the government will listen to us. Anyway, it is good to see that we are finally getting some momentum now."
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Old April 13th, 2010, 03:08 PM   #937
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New Volvo 12 meter B7RLE (Single Decker) hits the road! It runs on KMB Route 273 in Fanling.

Photo Link from HKiTalk, posted by Alx3000
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Old April 14th, 2010, 11:38 AM   #938
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricIsHim View Post
2-axle has better maneuverability, and less costly to build and maintain.
Operationally, it is actually better with one axle less. (In fact, it is cheaper for tunnel tolls in HK as well.)
For the most park, it has been the regulations in HK forcing the import of 3-axle, not necessarily from the operation or material point of view.

I believe the rails in front of the citybus are tree guards, pushing the branches out before they hit the windshield, or at least minimize the impacts. NWFB used to have the tree guards installed as well on the 14XX series, but have been taken out gradually and I believe none of them has it anymore.
I meant to say better balanced aesthetically, operationally it's of course much cheaper with two axles. One less axle means any maintenance and potential problems with the additional axle is gone, I imagine just the fewer number of tires is worth a bundle.

The shorter wheelbase will provide for better maneuverability, though probably not better stability, but then they're not exactly race cars.

I did not know the government forced the importation of buses with 3-axles, when was this implemented?
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Old April 14th, 2010, 07:28 PM   #939
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I did not know the government forced the importation of buses with 3-axles, when was this implemented?
It is not just for buses, but a general motor vehicle law prohibits any 2-axle vehicle have a load over 16 tons (may be 20 or similar, I forgot the exact number.) Any vehicle carry a load over the limit requires to have the 3rd axle.

A fully-loaded non-AC 12m double decker exceeds the requirement and has needed the 3rd axle since the first day to meet the law; the latter AC unit adds some additional weight on the vehicle, and so even the smaller vehicle needs the 3 axle.
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Old April 25th, 2010, 05:17 AM   #940
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