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LCQ17: Low-floor buses

     Following is a question by the Hon Albert Chan and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng, in the Legislative Council today (May 2):


     On April 6, 2011, I raised a question at the meeting of this Council on the issue that most of the trips on the bus routes to and from Tin Shui Wai were not serviced by wheelchair-accessible low-platform buses.  It has been learnt that as most of these trips are still not serviced by low-platform buses at present, wheelchair users often have to wait for more than 30 minutes for such buses.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the respective numbers of low-platform buses added to the fleet of each franchised bus company during the period from April 2011 to April 2012 and the respective percentages of such additions;

(b) of the daily number of trips on the bus routes to and from Tin Shui Wai which are run by low-platform buses at present, and the percentage of such number in the total number of relevant bus trips, and how such figures compare with the relevant figures in April 2011; and

(c) whether it will reconsider adding a clause to the franchise agreements with bus companies in the future, requiring them to retrofit facilities on all in-service non-low-platform buses to make it convenient for wheelchair users to board and alight buses; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



(a) The total number of wheelchair accessible low-floor buses in the franchised bus fleet has increased from 3,271 in end-April 2011 to 3,575 in end-March 2012 (Note), representing a growth of 9.3%.  The number of low-floor buses of the franchised bus companies is shown at the Annex.

Note: The figures of end-March 2012 are the latest available figures.

(b) In end-April 2011, the total number of bus trips to and from Tin Shui Wai was 3,321 per day, of which 2,497 trips were made by low-floor buses.  They made up of about 75% of the total daily trips made under the relevant routes.  In end-March 2012, the total number of bus trips to and from Tin Shui Wai was 3,320 per day, with 2,820 trips made by low-floor buses.  They made up of about 85% of the total daily trips made under the relevant routes.  As far as the number of trips is concerned, that made by low-floor buses to and from Tin Shui Wai in end-March 2012 has increased by 323 per day when compared with end-April 2011.

(c) All franchised bus companies, except New Lantao Bus Company (1973) Limited (NLB), have agreed and implemented since 2001 that all new buses purchased as additional or replacement vehicles will be wheelchair accessible models.  According to the current bus replacement plans, it is expected that all franchised buses will be low-floor and wheelchair accessible by around 2015/16.

     As a low-floor bus requires a purpose-made frame for its structure and facilities, it is not feasible to modify serving non-low-floor buses into low-floor ones to avoid affecting the structure of the vehicle.

     As regards the NLB, since low-floor buses are not suitable for operation on some roads with steep gradient and sharp bends in South Lantau, the company can only procure as far as possible wheelchair accessible low-floor buses for use on bus routes other than those which cover such roads in South Lantau.

Ends/Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Issued at HKT 12:01


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