Kowloon Motor Bus
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Alexander Dennis Enviro 500 in November 2005
|Parent||Transport International Holdings|
|Founded||13 April 1933 (historical 1921)|
|Headquarters||Lai Chi Kok|
|Service type||Bus services|
|Fleet||3,807 (December 2012)|
|Chief executive||Edmond Ho Tak Man|
KMB was founded on 13 April 1933 as a result of the reformation of public transport by the Hong Kong Government. Before the reformation, there were several independent bus operators working on both sides of Victoria Harbour.
The founding members of KMB were:
- Tang Shiu-kin (鄧肇堅)
- William Louey Sui Tak (雷瑞德)
- Lui Leung (雷亮)
- Tam Woon Tong (譚煥堂)
- Lam Ming Fan (林明勳)
By 1940, KMB had 140 single-deckers operating on 17 routes. After World War II, only a handful of buses survived, and therefore some lorries were converted into buses. By the late 1940s, KMB ridership increased with the huge influx of immigration after the war. In 1949, KMB bought 20 Daimler double-deckers from England, becoming the first operator to operate double-deckers in Hong Kong.
Following the opening of the Cross Harbour Tunnel in 1972, a number of cross harbour routes were jointly operated by KMB with China Motor Bus, the sole bus operator on Hong Kong Island. With the tunnels, KMB service expanded from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island. At the same time, KMB experimented with buses operating without a fare collector.
In 1975, the first air-conditioned bus in Hong Kong was put into service by KMB. Following the testing of the double-decked air-conditioned bus in early 1980s (Victory and Jubilant), KMB became the world's first air-conditioned double-decker operator. All purchases after 1995 were air-conditioned.
In 1996, KMB formed a subsidiary named Long Win Bus Company on Lantau Link with service to the new Hong Kong International Airport and Tung Chung. In 1998, KMB extended its network into mainland China when a co-operative joint venture, Dalian Hong Kong Macau Company Limited, started.
On 8 May 2012, KMB withdrew its last non-air-conditioned buses from service, from then on all the franchised bus routes in Hong Kong were operated solely by air-conditioned buses.
KMB is the first franchised bus company in Hong Kong that achieved the following:
- Air-conditioning franchised bus service (early 1975)
- First super-low-floor easy access (SLF) double deckers in Hong Kong (1997)
- ISO 9001:1994 certification (1999)
- ISO 9001:2000 certification (2002)
- ISO 14001 certification (2001 & 2003)
- Hong Kong Green Mark Certification (2007)
Passenger pays fares by either cash (no change given) or an Octopus card, a smart card fare collection system used in Hong Kong. Discounts apply for Octopus users on specified interchange combinations. Generally, the bus fare decreases as the passenger boards the bus at stops closer to the end of the route.
Response to the railway merger
In December 2012, Kowloon Motor Bus has a fleet of 3,807 buses including 3,634 double-deckers and the bus fleet is fully air-conditioned.
The KMB Fleet is allocated to four major depots across Kowloon and the New Territories and is identified by letter (either K, L, S or U). These letters are placed on the bottom left of the driver's windscreen, although some of the buses in the fleet still have the letter placed under the windscreen.
- K: Kowloon Bay Depot
- L: Lai Chi Kok (Stonecutter's Island) Depot
- S: Sha Tin (Siu Lek Yuen) Depot
- U: Formerly Un Long (Yuen Long) Depot, currently Tuen Mun Depot
KMB buses are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. Newer buses, like the Alexander Dennis Enviro 500, have coloured CCTV cameras installed whereas older buses use a mirror. Bus stop announcement systems installed in every bus informs passengers of the next stop. LCD TVs with programs are also available on most air-conditioned buses. These programs are provided by RoadShow.
KMB routes are mainly concentrated on Kowloon and in the New Territories, and these routes are served solely by KMB. It also operates cross-harbour tunnel routes in cooperation with two other Hong Kong bus operators, New World First Bus and Citybus.
KMB currently operates 399 routes in Hong Kong. See list of bus routes in Hong Kong for details.
Route numbering system
Route numbers consist of a number, optionally preceded by or followed by a letter. If the number has one or two digits, the following numbering scheme is observed:
|30-99||Outside Urban Kowloon/New Territories|
If the number has three digits, the first digit signifies the service, and the remaining two digits follow the above numbering scheme except as indicated:
|1 (1xx)||Cross-harbour routes via the Cross-Harbour Tunnel.||Routes 170 and 171: the digit 7 follows the numbering scheme on the Hong Kong Island for service to the southern Hong Kong Island.|
|2 (2xx)||Routes using air-conditioned buses only.||With the retirement of non-aircon buses in May 2012, it has been known that we kept the numbering system intact, in the event of number run-out. All changes in Kowloon Motor Bus must be made in thorough way.|
|3 (3xx)||Special cross-harbour tunnel routes, service during morning and/or evening rush hours only||307 is an exception, where originally it was a rush-hour only route, but currently serving as normal timetable.|
|6 (6xx)||Cross-harbour routes via the Eastern Harbour Crossing.|
|8 (8xx)||Routes serving the Sha Tin Racecourse on horse racing days.|
|9 (9xx)||Cross-harbour routes via the Western Harbour Crossing.|
On buses with printed plaques and at bus stops, routes are displayed in white on black, with the exception of 1xx and 6xx routes that are in white on red, and 9xx in white on green on bus stops and white on red on printed plaques. On buses with dot-matrix displays, the dots are always in yellow and thus the route number and destination are displayed in yellow on brown/black.
The suffix letter carries additional information about the route:
|A through F||Sometimes they designate parallel routes with different destinations, like 1 vs 1A and 5 vs 5A, but more often they are unique identifiers, like 2, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F—there is hardly any overlap in these routes.|
|K||Routes with a KCR (now MTR East Rail Line, Ma On Shan Line and West Rail Line) station as the destination, for example 87K, 93K.|
|M||Routes with an MTR station as the destination, for example 59M, 68M, 264M.|
|P||Routes that have limited hours or days of service, for example 69P. With exceptions of 8P and 276P, where it serves as normal timetable.|
|R||Recreational routes, for example 6R, 96R, 269R.|
|S||Special routes, for example 14S, 76S, 265S.|
|X||Express routes, for example 11X, 49X, 68X, 74X, 215X, etc.|
The prefix letter N indicates that the route is an overnight route, for example N122, N241, N269, etc.
Route numbers 1-99 and used by KMB can also be used by Citybus or New World First Bus for routes on the Hong Kong Island, or by the New Lantau Bus on the Lantau Island. The rest of the routes are unique within Hong Kong.
KMB has no 5xx (Hong Kong Island, air-conditioned bus routes), 7xx (Express bus using the Island Corridor), or Axx or Exx (service to the airport). Currently KMB does not use Mxx to designate buses serving an Airport Express station.
Kowloon Motor Bus also had a defunct Hong Kong football club, Kowloon Motor Bus Co. It was formed in 1947 and joined Hong Kong First Division League in the 1947/48 season. Nicknamed "Atomic Bus", the team obtained the only two league titles in 1953/54 and 1966/67. The team attained its peak in the 1950s and 1960s when the "South China - Kowloon Motor Bus Co. crash" (南巴大戰) was one of the highlighted rival matches in Hong Kong. In 1970/71, the team faced their first relegation, but was able to stay in the First Division as Jardines quit the league in the following season. However, the team were relegated in 1972/73. It made its last First Division League appearance in 1976/77 bus was relegated after only one season. In 1981, the football team quit the league.
- New World First Bus and Citybus - owned by NWS Transport Services Limited
- China Motor Bus - lost franchise to New World First Bus in 1998
- Mass Transit Railway - the railway system in Hong Kong
- Kowloon Motor Bus fleet
- Kowloon Motor Bus fleet numbering
- The Bus Uncle (An incident that took place on a Kowloon Motor Bus and became an internet phenomenon)
- Transport in Hong Kong
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