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Old January 11th, 2011, 02:54 PM   #1001
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Old January 13th, 2011, 05:00 PM   #1002
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Bus firms threaten fare rises over tolls
12 January 2011
The Standard

The operators of two bus companies have warned that fares may rise if the government goes ahead with a proposal to raise tolls at the Cross Harbour Tunnel to ease traffic congestion.

Citybus and New World First Bus sounded the warning yesterday at a meeting of the Legislative Council's transport panel. Kowloon Motor Bus said it too opposes an increase in tunnel tolls but did not threaten a fares hike.

A government-commissioned consultancy report has suggested increasing tolls at the tunnel and offering concessions at the Eastern and Western harbor tunnels.

First Bus senior operations support manager Newton Ng Yi-kwan said: ``The plan will cost the two companies around HK$5 million a year. We may have to apply to the government to increase our fares.''

KMB operations director Kenrick Fok Choi-fook put a HK$4 million tag on increased operational costs.

In order to redistribute the traffic across the three harbor crossings _ the Cross Harbour Tunnel, Eastern Harbour Crossing and the Western Harbour Crossing _ the Transport and Housing Bureau commissioned a consultancy study, the report of which was released in November.

It said the Cross Harbour Tunnel is most heavily utilized with a daily throughput of about 122,000 vehicles.

To better distribute traffic, the study suggests several options including adjusting tolls only at that tunnel.

Currently, the toll for a double decker bus is HK$15.

The study says the toll could be increased to as much as HK$60.
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Old January 13th, 2011, 05:04 PM   #1003
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Old January 13th, 2011, 11:24 PM   #1004
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Wright Geminis in HK have shallower windows than those in the UK.
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Old January 14th, 2011, 04:12 AM   #1005
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^ and longer with 3 axles as well
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Old January 17th, 2011, 07:57 PM   #1006
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Old January 21st, 2011, 02:20 PM   #1007
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Old January 21st, 2011, 10:40 PM   #1008
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We're already at prefix "PN" for license plate!? We are getting close to ZZ very soon.
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Old January 25th, 2011, 10:53 AM   #1009
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Lawmakers sceptical over hybrid bus trial
25 January 2011
South China Morning Post

Lawmakers are reluctant to pledge advance support to a HK$33 million subsidy to buy six hybrid buses for a two-year trial because of concerns it would be a waste of money.

At the environmental affairs panel meeting yesterday, legislators asked why the proposed 24-month trial of six diesel-electric double-deckers could only begin in the middle of next year. They also asked why electric buses were not also being tested.

Kam Nai-wai of the Democratic Party raised the fear that public funding would go down the drain if the franchised bus companies eventually chose not to replace their ageing fleets with hybrid buses.

"What are you going to do with their franchises after the trial?" he said. "Why doesn't the government simply buy up the whole fleet from the bus operators and just lease the buses back for them to run so that we can set a clear timetable for a fleet upgrade?"

Audrey Eu Yuet-mee of the Civic Party said progress was too slow and too little had been done since Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen pledged in his October policy address that "it is our ultimate goal to switch all franchised buses running on the road to emissions-free vehicles".

A hybrid bus can in theory save up to a third of the fuel and emit up to half the emissions of conventional diesel buses. But the price is estimated at HK$5.5 million, about double that of a diesel bus.

Kitty Poon Kit, the undersecretary for the environment, said 12 months was the normal period of time for manufacturers to deliver a bus.

Poon said the trial could provide useful operational data to help the firms and government to work out the logistics of phasing in a new fleet.

"Before we can deploy them on a large scale, we have to test how the bus performs in wetter climates, the hilly topography and heavy traffic situations here. This is the data we don't have now," she said.

Poon also said the bus companies were looking at two models of electric buses that might be tested in the future.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 05:33 PM   #1010
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Old February 13th, 2011, 04:44 PM   #1011
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KMB banking on cleaner diesel buses
2 February 2011
SCMP

The government is paying bus companies to try out diesel-electric hybrids as a means to reduce roadside air pollution, but the city's biggest franchised bus operator is still counting on diesel power.

Kowloon Motor Bus is working with manufacturers developing next-generation diesel buses to meet tougher European Union standards on pollutant emissions, and will make further modification to older vehicles to limit dangerous emissions.

KMB principal engineer Kane Shum Yuet-hung said diesel buses would certainly give the highest levels of reliability at this stage but with the development of more advanced battery technology, hybrid or electric buses might become more popular in years to come.

Next-generation diesel buses will meet the Euro VI standard - the newest EU benchmark for acceptable pollution levels in exhaust emissions in vehicles sold in the 27-member bloc - within four to five years, KMB says.

"The Euro VI vehicle is in the pipeline now," said Shum. "A prototype could be completed as early as 2013 or 2014, and then it will be rolled out to the market. We are lucky to be part of this and are working closely with the manufacturers."

Shum said the coming standard would lower the emission levels of particles and nitrogen oxides by up to half compared with the Euro V standard, the most stringent to date. The current minimum standard for new buses is Euro IV, which Hong Kong adopted in 2006.

"We are always ahead of the standard. When others were scrambling for Euro IV, we were already using Euro V," Shum said. "It will be the same for the Euro VI."

Of KMB's fleet of 3,822 buses, 186 meet Euro IV or Euro V standards, while the rest are equipped with engines that met the Euro III standard introduced in 2001.

KMB - along with City Bus and New World First Bus which mainly operate on Hong Kong Island - has been cited as a culprit for the rising levels of roadside air pollution. It is estimated that franchised buses produce up to 40 per cent of roadside emissions.

The company says its fitting of emission reduction devices to more than 3,000 older buses cut particulate emissions by more than 90 per cent from levels in 1992. But KMB said their emissions of nitrogen oxides were still a challenge for the company and so it had agreed with the government to look into the feasibility of fitting its fleet with selective catalytic reduction devices. It hopes a trial can begin this year.

Originally, KMB said there would not be enough space on its buses to install these devices, but it is now trying to find a way to solve this problem. The government pledged to pay all installation costs if the trial proved effective.

A spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Department said a task force, comprising representatives from bus companies, suppliers, local and overseas experts, and officials from relevant departments, had been formed to decide which selective catalytic reduction devices would be used and how many buses would be involved.

The EU introduced its first emission standards for buses in 1992. Shum said KMB would retire all pre-Euro-standard vehicles and some other old buses by early next year, as the 300 Euro V buses it ordered last year would be delivered by then.

He said it was too early to tell how many Euro V buses KMB would order this year.

According to government estimates, based on buses' expected service life of 18 years, all Euro I buses introduced since 1995 will be phased out by 2015, while Euro II buses introduced since 1997 will disappear by 2019.

Asked what buses KMB would use in the next few years, Shum said they were likely to be a combination of diesel, hybrid and electric.

But he said the company was still uncertain about the viability of diesel-electric hybrid buses. "Test results in London are quite mixed," he said. The British capital has seen one of the largest commercial applications of the buses in the world.

As well as trying hybrids, KMB is drafting a proposal to the government to support more tests on an electric bus it sourced from the mainland last year. The bus had been used for company purposes and the testing results were satisfactory, Shum said. At least one bus will be converted to the design standard of KMB's existing fleet and put into service.
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Old February 15th, 2011, 06:34 PM   #1012
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Some of those pictures look like the buses are drifting! :-O

Great pictures by the way.
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Old February 18th, 2011, 03:18 PM   #1013
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Driving ambitions... the Wrightbus way
15 February 2011
Belfast Telegraph
http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/bu...-15084351.html


Jack Kernohan and William Wright

WILLIAM Wright began his career working in his father's shed behind their house at Warden Street in Ballymena in the 1940s.

Fast-forward six decades and the family firm, The Wright Group, now employs almost 1000 people and their buses can be seen cruising the streets of London, Singapore and Las Vegas.

Back at home, car drivers and passengers can be seen to do a double-take as buses headed for London destinations like Islington or Tottenham Court Road, or sleek gold Hong Kong-bound double deck vehicles with route displays in Cantonese, pass them on their test drives along the M2.

In its latest coup, the company won the contract to design, engineer and build London's replacement for the world-famous red Routemaster double-decker.

The buses are to be ready for the road in time for the London Olympics in 2012 -- a far cry from the school minibuses, work vans and delivery lorries that were once the company's staple.

And William Wright still turns up for work every day, aged 85.

The impressive story of how, has now been committed to print by a former employee.

Wright's recently celebrated over 60 years in business and former sales director Jack Kernohan, who retired in 2005, was convinced to record the history of his former workplace.

"Ted Hesketh, the retired managing director of Translink, said that if I didn't write a book, no one would," he said.

When Mr Kernohan retired from Wrightbus, after working for the company for half a century, he had never operated a computer.

"I had to teach myself the basics before really getting down to the task," said Mr Kernohan.

"The company records of those early years are non-existent, but, fortunately, I had kept many of the old photographs.

"I know myself that William Wright is always looking over the next hill, seeing what is coming over the horizon. He does not have time to look behind him, but I would be more interested in the history side of things."

His book, The Wright Way, goes back 64 years to 1946 when skilled joiner Bob Wright was asked by the manager of the Ballymena and Harryville Co-op if he could build a wooden body for a new bread van. The answer was "yes" and the foundations of the company which exists today were laid.

As the business grew, Bob was joined by his son, William.

Mr Kernohan joined the firm in 1955.

He had been educated at Ballymena Technical School, where he completed a joinery apprenticeship. He also travelled to Belfast to work at McLaughlin & Harvey, before joining Robert Wright & Son.

"Back when I started they were still using the old wooden frameworks," he said.

"But even that far back they were developing new ranges, new products, helping the workers develop their skills.

"I eventually went into management, I was production manager at first, then went into customer care and then into sales, ending up as sales director, all over a period of 50 years.

"The family ethos of the company is as strong today as it was back when I started, when there were only 26 people employed with the firm.

"Even these days, you see newspaper articles celebrating when call centres start a few people here and there -- but Wright's still takes on scores of new people every year."

The company has always been at the forefront of travel industry technology.

"The biggest shift in the business came with the development of the PSV (public service vehicle) buses," he said.

"Before that we were building 40ft trailers, coal lorries, delivery vehicles, and we knew we could no longer keep to that remit because of what was happening in Europe. With the Common Market, the larger companies were all buying each other up and a lot of smaller coach builders went to the wall.

"That forced us to grow and Wright's is still the largest family-owned bus manufacturer in Europe.

"All other bus chassis are manufactured in mainland Europe.

"As you can imagine, at the height of the Troubles, going over into the heart of London to sell buses -- as soon as the buyers heard the words 'Northern Ireland'... it was difficult.

"Look at things now. Look in the background of any news reports about London and you will see buses driving around that were built in Ballymena -- just look for that black 'W' on the front grille."

Wrightbus currently supplies vehicles to travel companies Arriva, First Group, Ulster Bus, Bus Eireann, and Go Ahead.

Last year the firm secured orders for 290 completely built double-decker buses for the Kowloon Motor Bus Company in Hong Kong.

There is also new business in Singapore -- the parts are shipped over, along with Wright's staff, who train their foreign counterparts in how to assemble the vehicles.

Some aspects of bus travel that passengers now take for granted originated at the Galgorm plant.

"William Wright first had the ideas about accessibility in the late 1980s," said Mr Kernohan.

"He wanted for a lady with a baby in a pram to be able to walk straight onto a bus.

"He wanted for someone with a stick not to have to climb up steps, he wanted for someone in a wheelchair to be able to have that bus lowered down for them to get on board.

"The lowering buses and the Floline floor technology were developed in the 1990s and it all came from Mr Wright's vision," said Mr Kernohan.

"Wright's diesel electric hybrid double-decker buses hit the roads 10 years ago -- we are only seeing hybrid cars being used on the streets now, and still very rarely.

"Hydrogen fuel cell-powered buses are yet another first for Wrightbus -- the first to be built in the United Kingdom.

"A batch of these clean vehicles are being used on a busy central London route.

"In Las Vegas, they wanted the articulated buses, the Streetcars, again, the first of which were designed and built in Ballymena."

Not surprisingly, Mr Kernohan has dedicated his book to the employees of The Wright Group.
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Old February 19th, 2011, 02:36 AM   #1014
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It is interesting to note HK is introducing 2 axle double-deckers.

What would be the philosophy and the trend moving forward? 2 axle double-deckers are shorter and less capacity. Will the frequency be increased to maintain the route capacity? Is this going to improve overall system efficiency interms of overall costs, environment impact and service to customer?

I quite like these new gen 2 axle double deckers. Without the benefit of studying the actual numbers, my estimate is that the 2 axle double-deckers will be better efficient in terms of cost/seat, environment impact, etc. Being slightly more manoverable, they may also impose less impact on the traffic. Furthermore, with higher frequency (i.e. so as to maintain the overall system capacity), this may offer better customer service.

I hope the numbers will attest to these.
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Old February 19th, 2011, 07:12 AM   #1015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horlick97 View Post
It is interesting to note HK is introducing 2 axle double-deckers.

What would be the philosophy and the trend moving forward? 2 axle double-deckers are shorter and less capacity. Will the frequency be increased to maintain the route capacity? Is this going to improve overall system efficiency interms of overall costs, environment impact and service to customer?

I quite like these new gen 2 axle double deckers. Without the benefit of studying the actual numbers, my estimate is that the 2 axle double-deckers will be better efficient in terms of cost/seat, environment impact, etc. Being slightly more manoverable, they may also impose less impact on the traffic. Furthermore, with higher frequency (i.e. so as to maintain the overall system capacity), this may offer better customer service.

I hope the numbers will attest to these.
I doubt there is a movement to remove the 3-axle fleet. Think the 2-axle is still useful for less busy routes although I do see more newer single-deckers lately as well.

Increasing frequency isn't much of an option anymore despite heavy demand on major trunk routes due to road capacity issues.
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Old February 20th, 2011, 03:56 AM   #1016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horlick97 View Post
It is interesting to note HK is introducing 2 axle double-deckers.

What would be the philosophy and the trend moving forward? 2 axle double-deckers are shorter and less capacity. Will the frequency be increased to maintain the route capacity? Is this going to improve overall system efficiency interms of overall costs, environment impact and service to customer?

I quite like these new gen 2 axle double deckers. Without the benefit of studying the actual numbers, my estimate is that the 2 axle double-deckers will be better efficient in terms of cost/seat, environment impact, etc. Being slightly more manoverable, they may also impose less impact on the traffic. Furthermore, with higher frequency (i.e. so as to maintain the overall system capacity), this may offer better customer service.

I hope the numbers will attest to these.
Hong Kong law limits the loading weight of 2-axle vehicle of any kind to a certain amount, and anything more than that requires the 3rd-axle. This triggers the reason of the overwhelming number of 3-axle double decker in HK.
The trend will continue to be 3-axle for the 11 to 12m buses since it's required by law.

The import of new 2-axle shorter buses is more likely to serve routes that require high maneuverability on the hilly and swinging terrain in HK. These routes used to be served by short-bus with less capacity, anyways, so the new 2-axle bus isn't reducing the route capacity overall; it's just a normal change over in fleet at the older buses toward their end of service life.
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Old February 21st, 2011, 05:30 AM   #1017
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Good for the denser area of a city, gives riders a better view of squares and city attractions.
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Old February 27th, 2011, 05:28 AM   #1018
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Old March 7th, 2011, 06:06 PM   #1019
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By ~衝 from a Hong Kong transport forum :





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Old March 15th, 2011, 03:31 PM   #1020
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LCQ13: Service life of franchised buses
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon Audrey Eu and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng, at the Legislative Council meeting today (March 9):

Question:

I have received an increasing number of complaints from members of the public that some old franchised buses are still in service even after reaching 17 years of age, but may, on application, continue to run for a further year. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the purpose of extending the service life of a franchised bus beyond 17 years;

(b) of the procedure for applying and extending the service life of a franchised bus beyond 17 years; and

(c) of the number of buses currently operating under such an extension and the number of extensions approved in each of the past five years, together with a breakdown by the emission standard met by the buses (set out in the table below)?

Code:
Emission
Standard/
Year        2010    2009    2008    2007    2006
Pre-Euro
Euro I
Euro II
Reply:

(a) The franchised bus companies have committed to replacing buses before they reach 18 years old in order to maintain a proper and efficient franchised bus service to the travelling public. Buses aged 18 and above would not be allowed to operate on the road unless under very special circumstances, such as to meet unforeseen need arising from the late delivery of replacement vehicles.

(b) All franchised buses operating on the road would need to go through vehicle examination annually to certify their roadworthiness before they can be put into operation. In case of application for extending the service life of a franchised bus after reaching the age of 18, the Transport Department would vet the justifications for such applications carefully and must be satisfied that there is no reasonable alternative before granting the approval.

(c) According to our record, no franchised bus at the age of 18 and beyond was in service between 2006 and the present. There are currently 117 buses between 17 and 18 years of age operating on the road (out of a total of 5,784 buses) and the Transport Department has not received any application for extending their service life beyond the age of 18.
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