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The management of NWFB and Citybus first recognizes that the unified fare of the two bus companies may become an obstacle to the increase of some fares

2021-05-18T10:21:06.460Z

In August last year, Huida Transportation spent 3.2 billion yuan to acquire the business of the new and city buses from NWS Holdings. In the face of the sudden fourth wave of the epidemic, the operating environment continues to be severe. Zhong Zewen, vice chairman of Huida Transportation, accepted the



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Author: Zheng Qiyuan

2021-05-17 08:00

Last update date: 2021-05-17 08:00

In August last year, Huida Transportation spent 3.2 billion yuan to acquire the business of the new and city buses from NWS Holdings. In the face of the sudden fourth wave of the epidemic, the operating environment continues to be severe.

Zhong Zewen, vice chairman of Huida Transportation, said in an interview with the media such as "Hong Kong 01" that the management team is now studying various ways to increase revenue and reduce expenditure. For the first time, he publicly admitted that the research direction includes the merger of the franchise of NWFB and Citybus.

Zhong emphasized that the study on the merger of the two bus companies is only at the preliminary stage. It is necessary to specifically assess whether the actual benefits outweigh the disadvantages. The work is also complicated and takes a long time.

At present, the franchise of the new bus and the city bus have different fares. Once the franchise is merged, the fares must be unified. It is inevitable that some low-fare routes on Hong Kong Island will inevitably increase fares, which is also a problem.

At the same time, the replacement of bus paint and uniforms also involves additional costs. "Every mosquito must be used carefully." Zhong emphasized that it is necessary to carefully study whether it is worth doing.

▼Citybus new car equipment▼

Currently NWFB and Citybus operate in Hong Kong under a total of 3 franchises. Citybus franchise 1 is mainly responsible for Hong Kong Island and cross-harbour bus routes; Citybus franchise 2 mainly focuses on the airport and North Lantau related routes; and NWFB is responsible for the related routes of the airport and North Lantau Island. Another independent franchise.

The two buses have their own fleets and front-line teams, and the three franchises have their own accounts. The fare adjustments also need to be applied for separately, and the authorities will approve them separately.

Zhong Zewen said that even if the fare increase is approved, it is expected that there will be challenges in the operation of the two buses. The passenger volume of the more profitable airport and land port routes in the past has been affected by the epidemic. The passenger volume has dropped by 40%, resulting in a decrease of about 60% in revenue. It is difficult to subsidize other routes. The MTR has also been eroding the bus market. The cross-harbour section of the East Rail line is expected to open to traffic in the first quarter of next year. The two buses will be directly affected. The remaining more profitable CHT cross-harbour routes, especially those in Central, Admiralty and Wan Chai, will go to work. The family market will be sucked away.

With reference to the situation when the South Island Line was opened to traffic, there was a route that had a 70% drop in passenger volume at that time.

Although the two buses will increase their fares by another 3.2% on January 2 next year, the clock pointed out that unless the passenger volume can rebound quickly, it will not rule out the need to increase the fares.

But he said that the two bus companies do not rely solely on fare increases to solve their operating problems. They must study various ways to increase revenue and reduce expenditure.

[Interview with Zhong Zewen and other content:]

NWFB and Citybus’s high-level bombardment of the lack of transparency in bus fare mechanism advocates annual fare adjustments based on objective data

First recognize that it takes time to study the merger of the two bus companies to understand the cost of the solution and whether it is worthwhile

Zhong Zewen admitted that one of the cost-cutting plans is to study the feasibility of merging the new bus and the city bus and integrating the franchise rights.

Due to the complexity of the relevant schemes, in-depth research must be conducted to understand whether the scheme can make operations more efficient and whether it is worthwhile.

He explained that merging the franchise will also incur additional costs. If the uniforms of the two buses are to be unified, and the body painting of the two buses is unified, it is already expensive. "It takes tens of thousands of mosquitoes to re-spray a bus. There are already 1,700 vehicles to deal with; when it comes to uniforms, even if one of the bus companies is required to wear the uniforms of another company, each bus captain will need several sets of uniforms, which is a very costly cost. Be careful, extra The cost may not be lower than the saving cost."

NWFB and Citybus fares are different if the fare is unified, there will be major disputes

Zhong Zewen continued that once the franchise is merged, there will also be a problem of unifying fares.

He said that NWFB and Citybus have two different fares. Since Citybus has not increased fares for many years, the fares of routes on Hong Kong Island are generally lower. Once the two buses have a unified fare, if the lower one is used, That is to say, if the NWFB wants to reduce the fare, under the current operating conditions, it will be more difficult to operate and not feasible; if it follows the NWFB's fare, it will become a substantial increase for individual citybus routes on Hong Kong Island; even if an intermediate plan is adopted, individual Regional price increases to subsidize bad perceptions in other regions.

Zhong takes the bus route in the southern district as an example. Currently, Citybus Route 72 costs RMB 5.5 per trip from Causeway Bay to Wah Kwai Village. Although NWFB Route 38 is a long distance, it runs from North Point to Chi Fu Fa Yuen, but the route is generally similar. , Currently receiving 7.8 yuan.

If the fare is unified, it is estimated that it will be difficult to determine the fare level accepted by all parties. "The situation is like the merger of the two railways. There are fare problems that have not been resolved."

He also admitted that it takes time to study the merger, and it is by no means a short time to produce results, but he declined to comment on whether he had ever "understood" the government about the plan.

At the same time research other open source and throttling solutions

Zhong Xu said that the two bus companies will also study whether there are other methods that can achieve similar effects as the merger, including plans to apply to the government to increase the flexibility of the mutual mobilization of vehicles and manpower between the two buses, so that the two buses can share some of their manpower and vehicles. "After reducing the restrictions, buses can be deployed more flexibly, which benefits passengers a lot."

As for the increase in revenue, the two bus companies will continue to bid for new bus routes, hoping to differentiate a share of new developments such as Kwu Tung and Hung Shui Bridge.

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Source: hk1

All news articles on 2021-05-18

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