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New arrangements to facilitate operation of non-franchised buses

     To facilitate the operation of non-franchised buses, the Transport Department (TD) today (July 26) put forward a series of new arrangements to the non-franchised bus trade.  The new arrangements will include the relaxation of student service endorsement, permission of residents' service buses in the same district to serve as reserve buses and expediting the processing of applications on alteration of service details.  The trade representatives welcomed these new arrangements.

     A spokesman for the TD said that the new arrangements are made in response to the need of the education sector and request from the non-franchised bus trade.  The new arrangement will also facilitate the operators to deploy their vehicles flexibly.

     "In terms of student service, passenger service licence (PSL) holders shall only have to furnish a student service contract to be issued with a student service endorsement in respect of all its buses complying with the requirements.  The TD will write to all PSL holders tomorrow to notify them of the new arrangements," the TD spokesman explained.

     Regarding the reserve bus arrangement for residents' service, one reserve bus is allowed for every 10 residents' service buses under the existing mechanism.  Under the new arrangement, the TD will permit deployment of other buses under the same PSL to serve as reserve buses.  The reserve buses to be deployed shall be operated in the same district of one of the three districts namely Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and New Territories.

     The TD is aware of the trade's concern on flexibility in operation.  In response to the trade's request, the TD will further expedite the processing of residents' service applications in respect of frequency, schedule and stopping points, etc.  The TD has undertaken to complete the processing within one month upon receipt of applications and the necessary information from the operators.

     Regarding the trade's request on the temporary addition of bus for approved employers' service to meet seasonal demands, TD would consider to expedite the processing of application.

     There is also concern from the trade regarding the penalty for breaches.  The spokesman reiterated that operation of unauthorised bus services will exert a negative impact on the traffic situation and upset the roles of different transport modes in the transport hierarchy. The enforcement action taken by the TD is mainly to combat breaches or unauthorised non-franchised bus services but not authorised residents' service.  The purpose of which is to maintain a healthy and normal development of the trade.

     "The trade suggested cancellation of their breach records after certain years of conviction.  Our initial view is that the suggestion is feasible in principle.  Having heard the views of the trade representatives at today's meeting, we will conduct an in-depth study of the issue," the spokesman said.

Ends/Thursday, July 26, 2012
Issued at HKT 20:47


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