Speech at Panel on Transport

Public Transport Strategy Study

Franchised buses

Introduction of new long-haul franchised bus services and mid-sized single-deck buses

Mr CHAN Chun-ying opined that planning for public transport services should take into account the trend of aging population in the years ahead. With an increasing proportion of elderly persons aged 65 and above, the demand for franchised buses would persist as many elderly persons preferred buses to railways. If the new long-haul franchised bus services with seat-only service would only be offered during peak hours, many elderly persons might not be able to enjoy the new services as normally they would avoid travelling during the busy peak hours.

Commissioner for Transport (“C for T”) stressed that the Administration had all along attached great importance to the need of elderly passengers on public transport. For example, the Administration had asked franchised bus operators to provide more elderly-friendly and barrier-free facilities on franchised buses, such as more handrails/railings and stop request buttons, and high contrast step-edges. Besides, it would formulate measures to assist the taxi trade in introducing more wheelchair accessible taxis to meet the service demand. As regards the new long-haul franchised bus services, she explained that the new services would be introduced during peak periods on a trial basis with a view to meeting the demand of some passengers for a better level of services, such as more spacious seating and no standees. Elderly passengers travelling during non-peak hours should have a good chance of finding a vacant seat on long-haul bus routes.