LCQ8: Bus termini
Many bus drivers have relayed to me that in order to cope with the traffic demand brought about by the population growth in the districts of Tuen Mun and Yuen Long in recent years, the number of bus routes passing those districts and their service frequencies have increased substantially. As a result, the sizes of many bus termini in the districts (including the bus terminus at Yuen Long (West) and the bus termini at Leung King Estate, Tin Heng Estate and Tin Yan Estate), which were built many years ago, and the facilities of the bus regulator’s kiosks provided there can no longer cope with the demand. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) whether the sizes of and facilities at the aforesaid bus termini currently meet the relevant standards stipulated in the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines and the Transport Planning and Design Manual;
(2) of the respective numbers of applications from franchised bus companies for operating new bus routes and increasing bus service frequencies rejected by the authorities in the past five years on grounds of the constraints of the aforesaid bus termini; and
(3) whether it has plans to expand the aforesaid bus termini; if so, how the authorities will overcome the technical difficulties?
My consolidated reply to the question raised by the Dr Hon Cheng Chung-tai is as follows:
At present, the standards and locational factors for bus termini are specified in Chapter 8 - "Internal Transport Facilities" of the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG), while the detailed guidance on the location and design for bus termini is set out in the Transport Planning and Design Manual (TPDM) prepared by the Transport Department (TD) and the Highways Department. Although the four bus termini mentioned in the question (i.e. Yuen Long (West) Bus Terminus, Tin Heng Estate Bus Terminus in Tin Shui Wai, Tin Yan Estate Bus Terminus in Tin Shui Wai and Leung King Estate Bus Terminus in Tuen Mun) have been in use for some time, they remain in compliance with the relevant standards as set out in the current HKPSG and TPDM. These bus termini have four to eight bus bays, which are sufficient for the operational needs of existing bus routes. An overview of these four bus termini is set out at Annex for reference.
As per the existing mechanism, the introduction of new franchised bus routes is basically not constrained by the availability of space in a bus terminus. Rather, it is to be considered having regard to the passenger demand for the new service. At present, franchised bus companies shall submit annually to the TD their proposals on introducing new routes and making service adjustment, etc, with a view to meeting passenger demand. Upon receipt of the proposals, the TD will take into account factors including changes in population, patronage and infrastructural developments, and draw reference to the Guidelines on Service Improvement and Reduction in Bus Route Programme. The proposals will then be implemented after consultation with the District Councils concerned. In case all bus bays of a bus terminus are occupied by existing routes yet there is still a genuine need for introducing new routes or improving the frequency of existing ones, the TD and the franchised bus companies will, on the premise of meeting passenger needs, devise corresponding measures, which may include shared usage of a bus bay by two or more routes with less frequent trips, addition of bus lay-bys on roads nearby the bus termini, arranging new routes to terminate at other bus termini in the vicinity, or operating appropriate routes as circular routes, so as to optimise the spatial usage of bus termini and meet passenger demand. In the past five years, the TD did not reject any application from franchised bus companies for introducing new bus routes or improving the frequency of existing ones on grounds of insufficient space at the above four bus termini. At present, there is also no plan to expand these bus termini.
Moreover, the Government has all along urged the franchised bus companies, as responsible enterprises, to provide suitable rest facilities for bus captains at bus termini. Such facilities are available at all of the four bus termini in question. Should bus companies apply for the provision of additional rest facilities, the TD will coordinate with the relevant Government departments as appropriate in the course of vetting such applications. Meanwhile, the TD will also liaise closely with the franchised bus companies to assist them in canvassing support from the local communities. Where necessary, the TD will arrange stakeholders, such as relevant District Council members and residents' organisations, to attend site visits with representatives of franchised bus companies to explore feasible solutions for erection of the rest facilities, with a view to expediting the implementation of the plans for addition of rest facilities to benefit both bus captains and passengers.
Ends/Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Issued at HKT 14:30
Issued at HKT 14:30