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LCQ21: Facilities at bus stops

Following is a question by the Hon James To and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (December 10):


     Some members of the public have relayed to me that franchised bus companies (bus companies) have placed vending machines for drinks beside quite a number of open-air bus stops, which not only occupy public places but also reduce the queuing space for members of the public waiting for buses.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it has compiled statistics on the current number of bus stops with electricity supply and the area occupied by such bus stops in general, with a tabulated breakdown by the name of the bus companies;

(2) whether bus companies are allowed to conduct commercial activities other than passenger services at bus stops; if so, of the application procedures; if not, how the authorities will follow up the aforesaid situation;

(3) of the parties responsible for meeting the electricity expenditure incurred in the operation of bus stops; if such expenditure is met by public funds, whether bus companies are allowed to use the electrical installations at bus stops to supply electricity for the vending machines;

(4) whether the authorities' prior approval is required for bus companies to set up electrical installations at bus stops; if so, whether such approval has imposed restrictions on the scope for the use of electricity by the bus companies (including whether the bus companies are allowed to use such electrical installations to conduct commercial activities other than passenger services); if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(5) whether the operators that provide the vending machines or the bus companies are required to apply to the authorities and obtain their approval for placing vending machines at public places beside bus stops, and whether fees are payable by them; if approval or payment of fees is required, of the details and the total amount of such fees collected by the Treasury in the past three years; if not, the reasons for that?



     The Government has all along been encouraging franchised bus companies to improve facilities at bus stops to provide passengers with greater convenience and a better waiting environment.  The franchised bus companies can generate non-fare box revenue by installing facilities such as vending machines at bus stops or displaying advertisements on bus stop shelters.  Pursuant to the statutory requirements, non-fare box revenue generated from such facilities/arrangements is included in the franchise account.  This can help increase the receipts of the franchised bus companies, thereby alleviating the pressure to increase fare.  At present, non-fare box revenue amounts to about 1 per cent to 8 per cent of the total revenue of franchised bus companies.

     Our consolidated reply to the Hon James To's question is as follows:

     Franchised bus companies would arrange electricity supply for sheltered bus stops having regard to the actual circumstance.  The electricity expenses are borne by them.  A breakdown of the number and average area of such bus stops by franchised bus companies is at Annex.

     Franchised bus companies are required to seek the approval from the Transport Department (TD) or Lands Department (LandsD) for installing supplementary facilities such as vending machines at bus stops.  Basically, TD is responsible for considering applications involving facilities with an area less than 2 square metres, while LandsD would be responsible to handle the other applications.  The Government would not collect rent from the franchised bus companies for facilities with an area below 2 square metres.  If the facility is with an area of 2 square metres or above, the Government will grant the site by way of short-term tenancy and collect rent at market value.

     A vending machine is usually of an area of about 0.7 square metre.  Such applications are thus considered by TD.   The franchised bus companies are required to set out clearly in their applications the design, structure and location of the vending machine to be installed.  When examining the applications, TD will consider various factors including the impact of the proposal on bus operation, passengers and other road users; the availability of sufficient space for waiting passengers and pedestrian access; and the views of other government departments (such as the Police and District Offices).  Upon approval of application, the franchised bus companies can arrange with the power supplier to put in place electrical installation on their own.  The electricity expenses would be borne by the franchised bus companies.

     There are currently over 1 000 sheltered bus stops provided with electricity supply in Hong Kong, and a total of 28 vending machines have been installed.

Ends/Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Issued at HKT 16:00


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