Citybus (Hong Kong)

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Citybus
HongKongCitybus.svg
6450 at Central Market, Des Voeux Rd C (20190201081551).jpg
ParentBravo Transport
Founded5 August 1979; 43 years ago (1979-08-05)
HeadquartersChai Wan
Service typeBus services
AllianceNew World First Bus
Routes108 (2015)
DepotsChai Wan[1]
Siu Ho Wan
Fleet981 (2015)
Daily ridership647,500 (2014 average)[2]
Annual ridership236,349,000 (2014)[3]
Chief executiveSamuel Cheng (managing director)
Websitewww.bravobus.com.hk

Citybus Limited (Chinese: 城巴有限公司) is one of the three major bus operators in Hong Kong. It provides both franchised and non-franchised bus service. The franchised route network serves mainly Hong Kong Island, cross-harbour routes (between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon/New Territories), North Lantau (Tung Chung and Hong Kong Disneyland) and Hong Kong International Airport. The non-franchised routes serve mainly City One Sha Tin. It also provides bus rental services and staff bus services for some large companies such as TVB and China Light and Power.

Since August 2020, the company is wholly owned by Bravo Transport which also owns the third largest operator, New World First Bus (NWFB). Prior to this, both NWFB and Citybus were owned by NWS Holdings and its predecessors. On 1 July 2023, the NWFB operations will be merged into Citybus.

From 1984 to 2001 the company offered a cross-border service between Hong Kong and China using mainly Leyland Olympians, but this was discontinued due to stiff competition. However, in 2007, Citybus began operating route B3, which goes to Shenzhen Bay Port.

History[edit]

Citybus was founded on 5 August 1979 by former China Motor Bus employee Lyndon Rees with one Volvo B55 double deck bus, providing a shuttle service for the Hong Kong United Dockyard in Hung Hom. In 1981, it commenced operating a residential bus route between City One Shatin and Kowloon Tong MTR station, which provided a innovative "breakfast bus" service.[4] In 1982, the United Transport group purchased a 49% shareholding.[5][6]

In 1984, Citybus began a cross-boundary coach service between Hong Kong and Shenzhen with ex National Trabel West and West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive Eastern Coach Works bodied Leyland Olympians. In 1985, the company introduced five air-conditioned Olympian coaches. Since then it has continued to expand its fleet of air-conditioned buses.[6]

In the late 1980s, Citybus was purchased by Tsui Tsin-tong's CNT Group. It commenced operating residential bus services with 100 new Olympians linking housing estates to MTR stations.[6]

In December 1990, Citybus launched Capital Citybus in London with an all-yellow livery for the routes in North and East London and a red and yellow livery for central London.[7][8] This was sold to FirstGroup in July 1998 and renamed First Capital.[9][10][11]

In 1991, the Hong Kong Government awarded Citybus its first franchised route, 12A (Admiralty Tamar Street to Macdonnell Road) on Hong Kong Island, which was originally operated by China Motor Bus and then withdrawn in the 1980s.[6]

In September 1993, Citybus took over 26 franchised routes from China Motor Bus after winning a competitive tender. These were branded as Network 26. To operate these a fleet of 101 Leyland Atlanteans was purchased from Singapore Bus Service. A further 14 franchised routes were awarded to the company in 1995 without tendering, with the fleet now expanded to more than 500 buses. During these years Citybus expanded its penetration of the Hong Kong Island market pushing nearly all China Motor Bus routes into low profitability.[4][6]

In 1996, with the Tsing Ma Bridge coming into operation and commencement of settlement in the Tung Chung new town, Citybus won another tender to operate 13 new franchised routes serving Tung Chung and the new Hong Kong International Airport. In 1998 the airport Cityflyer service commenced, which is part of Citybus and is solely used for Airport express routes to the city. The Cityflyer service consisted of a series of four routes: A11, A12, A21 and A22, with A10 being added in 2006. Citybus also operates various Overnight Airport routes and Airport Shuttle Routes.[4]

In 1998, following the expiry of the franchise of China Motor Bus, a further 12 routes were transferred to Citybus. Citybus's fleet was up to 1,100 buses.[4] The remaining routes of China Motor Bus were transferred to a new operator, New World First Bus.

Its business was expanded into mainland China with a joint venture operation in Beijing through Citybus (China) Limited. It was not only Beijing's first joint venture bus operation, but it also marked the introduction of air-conditioned buses for the first time in the capital city. Following the success of this route, a second urban express coach route was introduced in Beijing. However, the services in Beijing were terminated shortly after the disposal of shares of Citybus (China) Limited from Citybus to Kingsman Global Limited, another Hong Kong company, in June 2004. Citybus had also once operated a route (route 658) in Tianjin. The service is now operated by another company after Citybus disposed all its interest in Citybus (China) Limited.

In July 1999, Citybus was purchased by Stagecoach Group of Scotland.[4][12] In 2001, the cross-boundary coach service between China and Hong Kong was discontinued.

In June 2003, Stagecoach Group sold Citybus to Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, the parent company of the major rival operator New World First Bus.[13][14] After a series of restructurings, Citybus became a subsidiary of NWS Holdings, which was also the parent company of New World First Bus and New World First Ferry.[4]

In August 2020, along with New World First Bus, Citybus was sold to the Bravo Transport consortium, made up of private equity firm Templewater Bravo, Hong Kong-listed investment holding company Hans Energy and British bus operator Ascendal Group.[15][16][17][18] The founder of Ascendal Group, Adam Leishman, also became the CEO of Bravo Transport.[19]

In July 2022, Bravo Transport announced that it would be discontinuing the New World First Bus brand, and the NWFB operations will be merged into Citybus on 1 July 2023 when the bus franchises are renewed.[20]

Services[edit]

As of 2015 Citybus operates 108 routes.[3]

It currently operates two franchises:

Franchise Name Start date of current franchise Expiry date of current franchise Notes
Franchise 1 Hong Kong Island and Cross Harbour 1 June 2016 30 June 2023[21] The franchise was originally due to expire on 31 May 2026, but was amended to 30 June 2023 to align with the expiry of the New World First Bus franchise.[22] A new 10-year Urban and New Territories franchise commencing on 1 July 2023 has been granted to Citybus and will replace both expiring Citybus and NWFB franchises.[20]
Franchise 2 Airport and North Lantau 1 May 2013 30 April 2023[23] The franchise has been renewed for another 10 years starting from 1 May 2023.[20][21]

Cityflyer[edit]

Cityflyer is a subsidiary of Citybus that primarily operates airport coach services. The service was started during the opening of the Hong Kong International Airport in 1998. This service is operated exclusively using 110 Alexander Dennis Enviro500 MMCs and 3 Alexander Dennis Enviro500s as of 30/5/2019. Citybus is currently in ownership of more Cityflyer-designated vehicles but said vehicles have yet to enter service. The vehicles contain exclusive features that cannot be found on the rest of the fleet, including luggage racks equipped with Closed-circuit television, blinds, USB charging ports and more comfortable padded seats with wider legroom

Fleet[edit]

As of 2020, the fleet consisted of 1013 buses, of which 950 are Double-decker buses and the remaining 63 are single-decker. Most are from British or European manufacturers, such as Alexander Dennis and Volvo Buses, but most single-deckers have been ordered from mainland Chinese manufacturers including Youngman and BYD Auto.[24]

Depots[edit]

Operations are divided into two main departments, each of which have depots across the areas that they cover.

Operation Department One

Operation Department Two

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.nwstbus.com.hk/company/overview/CSR/index.aspx?intLangID=2
  2. ^ "Average Daily Public Transport Passenger Journeys by Public Transport Operator" (PDF). Monthly Traffic and Transport Digest 2015. Transport Department. 2015.
  3. ^ a b "2015 Annual Transport Digest". Transport Department. 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f https://www.bravobus.com.hk/company/history/index.aspx?intLangID=1&textOnly=true New World First Bus
  5. ^ Hong Kong to buy British Commercial Motor 28 September 1985
  6. ^ a b c d e "Hong Kong Buses Part 2: Citybus Limited" Fleetline issue 248 May 1997 page 91
  7. ^ From Hong Kong by bus Commercial Motor 10 January 1991
  8. ^ The History of Ensignbus Ensignbus
  9. ^ FirstGroup finds London bus firm is just the ticket The Herald 9 July 1998
  10. ^ Tendered Bus Services Select Committee on Environment, Transport & Regional Affairs March 1999
  11. ^ Annual Report Year Ended 31 March 1999[dead link] FirstGroup
  12. ^ Stagecoach enters Hong Kong BBC News 18 January 1999
  13. ^ Stagecoach sells HK buses BBC News 9 June 2003
  14. ^ Stagecoach takes the £176m road away from Hong Kong The Daily Telegraph 10 June 2003
  15. ^ Private equity fund Templewater buys Citybus and New World First Bus in HK$3.2b deal The Standard 21 August 2020
  16. ^ Hong Kong sale saves jobs Buses issue 787 October 2020 page 20
  17. ^ "International consortium acquires First Bus and Citybus" (PDF). Ascendal Group. NWS Holdings & Templeman. 21 August 2020. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  18. ^ "Disposal of the entire issued shared capital of NWS Transport Services Limited" (PDF). NWS Holdings. August 2020. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  19. ^ "Parent company of Citybus and New World First Bus mulls merging option". Marketing Interactive. 30 July 2021. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  20. ^ a b c "Bravo Transport Announces the Merger of Citybus and NWFB Franchises into the Newly Created Citybus (Franchise for Urban and New Territories Network)" (PDF). Bravo Transport. 12 July 2022. Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  21. ^ a b "3 new bus franchises granted". news.gov.hk. 12 July 2022. Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  22. ^ "History". Bravo Transport. Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  23. ^ Grant of new franchises to three bus companies Hong Kong Government 24 April 2012
  24. ^ "Public Transport - Citybus Limited | Annual Transport Digest 2020". www.td.gov.hk. Retrieved 1 September 2021.

External links[edit]