First batch of electric buses commence service

     The first batch of five single-deck electric buses fully subsidised by the Government commenced services today (December 27) to launch a two-year trial run. The Government aims to improve roadside air quality by implementing the programme.

     A spokesman for the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) said, "As electric buses do not have tailpipe emissions, replacing conventional diesel buses with electric buses can help improve roadside air quality. The trial of electric buses will last for two years in order to assess their operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness under local conditions. The EPD will carry out an interim review one year after the commencement of the trial."

     To reduce emissions from franchised buses, the Government is fully subsidising five franchised bus companies to purchase 36 single-deck electric buses (including eight supercapacitor buses and 28 battery-electric buses) and related charging facilities for trial runs on different routes to assess their operational performance under different conditions. The amount of the subsidy is about $180 million.

     Under the subsidy scheme, New World First Bus Services Limited (NWFB) and Citybus Limited (CTB) are being fully subsidised by the Government to purchase 10 single-deck battery-electric buses. The first batch of five battery-electric buses is being put into service starting this week.

     These five battery-electric buses will run on the following five routes:

Bus Routes for Battery-electric     Commencement
Bus Service                         Buses Day
-------------------------------     ------------
11: Central (Central Ferry Piers)   December 27
    to Jardine's Lookout

12: Central (Central Ferry Piers)   December 28
    to Robinson Road (Circular)

25A: Wan Chai (Hong Kong            December 29
     Convention and Exhibition
     Centre Extension) to
     Braemar Hill (Circular)

81: Lai Tak Tsuen to Chai Wan       December 28
    (Hing Wah Estate)
78: Wong Chuk Hang to Wah Kwai      January 5,  
    Estate (Circular)               2016

     NWFB and CTB anticipate that the remaining five battery-electric buses would be put into service in the first half of 2016. By then there would be two battery-electric buses running on each of the above bus routes.

     Other franchised bus companies are in the process of purchasing electric buses and preparing for installation of charging facilities. These electric buses could be put into service progressively in 2016.

     To monitor the trial of electric buses, the Government will set up a task force, comprising representatives from franchised bus companies, the EPD and the Transport Department, and local experts. If the trial results are satisfactory, the Government will encourage franchised bus companies to use electric buses on a larger scale, taking into account affordability for the franchised bus companies and passengers.

Ends/Sunday, December 27, 2015
Issued at HKT 11:01