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Grant of new franchise to Kowloon Motor Bus Company (1933) Limited
     The Chief Executive in Council (CE-in-Council) today (March 28) decided to grant a new 10-year franchise to the Kowloon Motor Bus Company (1933) Limited (KMB). The new franchise will commence upon expiry of its current franchise on July 1, 2017, and run until July 1, 2027.

     A government spokesman said that in accordance with the Public Bus Services Ordinance (Chapter 230, Laws of Hong Kong) and established practice, a grantee who has proven to be capable of providing a proper and efficient public bus service and is willing to further invest in franchised bus operation will be granted a new franchise for a period of 10 years.

     The spokesman pointed out that KMB has been providing proper and efficient services to passengers since the commencement of its current franchise in 2007. KMB has also committed to making an investment of $3.8 billion towards purchasing about 1 380 new buses (around 35 per cent of its current fleet) between 2017 and 2021.

     "The Government last granted bus franchises in 2015 to a further two grantees (namely Citybus Limited (Franchise for Hong Kong Island and Cross-Harbour bus network) and the New Lantao Bus Company (1973) Limited). The new franchises granted at that time have already incorporated new conditions and commitments in respect of enhancing service quality, providing information to passengers, improving environmental performance and strengthening government regulation. KMB will take on board the same conditions and commitments in its new franchise," the spokesman said.

     "In addition to the above, KMB will implement various service enhancement initiatives during the period of the new franchise. These include offering free Wi-Fi service in bus compartments, enhancing ancillary facilities and the passenger waiting environment, upgrading ancillary facilities at bus stops and setting up more shelters, partnering with 'Hong Kong eTransport' of the Transport Department to provide real-time arrival information, and providing information on seat vacancy of the upper deck, as well as improving transport for persons with disabilities and introducing hospital routes (i.e. 'H' routes)."

     As regards fare concessions, KMB currently provides a variety of fare concessions to passengers which basically encompass all of its regular routes, with an average of about 630 000 passenger trips benefitted each day in 2016. KMB will roll out a long-haul route fare concession scheme for full-time students upon the commencement of the new franchise, under which students can enjoy concessionary half fare on their return trips on daytime routes solely operated by KMB with an adult fare of $12 or above. KMB will also partner with the Hong Kong Tramways Limited to offer interchange fare concessions, expand its bus-bus interchange concession schemes within its network, and align the fares for short-haul trips on cross-district routes and shuttle bus routes.

     The spokesman added that having regard to the views of the Panel on Transport of the Legislative Council, KMB has agreed to conduct a review of the aforesaid fare concession scheme for students six months after its implementation. The Government will also continue to explore the feasibility of introducing more practicable fare concessions initiatives (including monthly passes) with KMB.

      The CE-in-Council has also taken into account the advice of the Transport Advisory Committee (see Annex) when considering the proposed granting of the new franchise to KMB. The relevant Legislative Council Brief has also been uploaded to the website of the Transport and Housing Bureau (www.thb.gov.hk).
Ends/Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:12
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