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LCQ5: Facilities at bus termini

     Following is a question by the Hon Wong Kwok-hing and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, at the Legislative Council meeting today (February 12):


     It has been reported that allegedly due to prolonged exposure to chilly wind, a bus regulator died suddenly of an attack of disease while working in a makeshift bus regulator's kiosk at Yat Tung Estate Public Transport Terminus in Tung Chung (Yat Tung Terminus) on December 25 last year. Regarding the facilities at bus termini, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the planned ceilings on the number of bus routes and volume of bus traffic at Yat Tung Terminus; the current number of bus routes and highest volume of bus traffic for that terminus;

(2) given that the bus routes terminating at Yat Tung Terminus are currently operated by three franchised bus companies but there are only two bus regulator's kiosks at the terminus, and consequently the bus regulator of a bus company can only work in a makeshift bus regulator's kiosk over the years, whether the authorities have any plan to build an additional bus regulator's kiosk at the terminus; if so, of the details and the construction timetable; if not, the reasons for that;

(3) whether it has communicated regularly with the representatives of the franchised bus companies and related trade unions on improving facilities at bus termini, and responded to the demands of the staff concerned;

(4) of the planning standards and criteria based on which the authorities determine the number of bus routes and volume of bus traffic to be accommodated by a bus terminus, as well as the number of bus regulator's kiosks to be provided at the terminus; and

(5) when the Transport Department is planning for a bus terminus, how the relevant bureaux and departments, such as the Development Bureau, Planning Department and Housing Department, participate in assessing the future demographic trend and demand for bus services in the community where the bus terminus is located, in order to ensure that adequate space is reserved for the provision of various types of facilities, including bus regulator's kiosks, at the terminus?


     The Government has been striving to provide the public with good facilities at the public transport terminus (PTT). Meanwhile, the facilities for use by frontline staff within such terminus are usually provided by public transport operators. Regarding the incident in December last year in which a bus regulator fainted at the Yat Tung Estate PTT in Tung Chung and subsequently passed away, the bus company concerned (i.e. the New Lantao Bus Company (1973) Limited (NLB)) had conducted a site inspection with the Transport Department (TD) and Housing Department (HD). The latter is responsible for managing the Yat Tung Estate PTT.

     The provision, size and design of PTTs have to make reference to the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (Guidelines) issued by the Planning Department (PlanD) and the Transport Planning and Design Manual (Manual) compiled by TD. When a department plans a new development project (such as for public housing), it will assess the traffic demand so generated and plan suitable public transport facilities (including bus termini) with respect to the land available to the project drawing reference to the Guidelines and Manual. During the planning phase, TD will liaise closely with the relevant departments (such as HD and PlanD) and advise on the proposed public transport facilities (including the location and size of bus termini, the number and design of bus bays, bus regulator's kiosks and other ancillary facilities) taking into account, amongst other things, the scope of the project, the estimated local population and their traffic demand, as well as the existing transport facilities in and service network for the area. TD will also consult the bus companies on the arrangements of facilities such as regulator's kiosks.

     The number of bus routes that can be accommodated in a bus terminus depends on a number of factors. They include the size and shape of the terminus, dimension and design of the bus bays, service frequencies and operation hours. Generally speaking, space will be reserved at a bus terminus during the planning phase, after taking into account the surrounding environment and actual need, for the franchised bus companies to provide facilities such as bus regulator's kiosks. After the opening of the terminus, the bus companies can also apply to the department responsible for managing the terminus to provide additional regulator's kiosks and other facilities for use by their frontline staff according to actual operational requirements. TD will offer assistance as necessary.

     The design and construction of the Yat Tung Estate PTT follows the same guidelines and procedures as mentioned above. It adopts a peripheral saw-tooth design for the boarding platforms. A total of six bus bays of saw-tooth design are provided at the north, west and south ends of the terminus. The bus lay-by in the middle can accommodate 21 buses. Currently, the terminus is used by a total of 18 bus routes operated by the Citybus Limited (Citybus), Long Win Bus Company Limited (LW) and NLB. They include six regular routes, eight special routes offering special or peak-hour departures and four overnight routes. During peak periods on weekdays, about 120 buses get in and out of the terminus every hour.

     At present, the design of the Yat Tung Estate PTT can meet service demand. As population in the area has more or less stabilised and there are yet to be new development areas, it is expected that the terminus will continue to be able to meet service demand for some time. However, if future service demand goes up significantly and overloads the terminus, the Government will separately consider the provision of suitable transport facilities.

     There are currently three regulator's kiosks in the Yat Tung Estate PTT, each for permanent use by Citybus, LW and NLB. As we understand it, some staff members find the existing NLB regulator's kiosk somewhat inconvenient in terms of location for the discharge of their duties and the kiosk is a bit crowded. To improve the working environment of frontline staff and facilitate their work, NLB has applied to HD for the provision of another regulator's kiosk. The new kiosk is expected to be in place in May this year.

     Depending on the actual situation, TD meets with the franchised bus companies from time to time and discusses with them bus services and related matters, such as route planning, service frequency, service level, operational safety and working environment of bus captains. TD also meets with the representatives of bus captain unions to understand and discuss issues of their concern. They are mainly on work arrangements, measures for improving operational safety, working environment of bus captains, etc. TD, together with franchised bus companies, has taken appropriate and feasible follow-up actions on the comments and requests raised by bus captain unions. Examples include the provision of mobile toilets or facilities such as microwave ovens and refrigerators for use by staff at a number of bus termini.

Ends/Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Issued at HKT 13:12


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