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Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024

'Retro' buses with welcome tunnel vision

'Retro' buses with welcome tunnel vision

Two Citybus and New World First Bus double-deckers - in the bus operators' "retro" design with orange and green wave patterns - will serve in one of two new cross-harbor routes using the Tseung Kwan O-Lam Tin Tunnel.
Passengers of the new route 694S between Tseung Kwan O and Siu Sai Wan will be able to revisit collective memories of the refurbished buses by making the voyage for HK$15.9.

The two orange and green-clad buses - one a double-decker refurbished from a retired Volvo Super Olympian and the other a currently active Alexander Dennis Enviro500 - will make their maiden voyages today at 7.50am and 8.10am from Tiu Keng Leng.

They will serve passengers between Tseung Kwan O, Quarry Bay and Shau Kei Wan and arrive at Siu Sai Wan in under 20 minutes, the bus operator said, and will depart from Siu Sai Wan at 5.45pm and 6.05pm, from Monday to Friday.

Bus captain Chu Hoi-lam, known as "Captain 694" for having operated the route for more than two decades, said he had fond memories of the route.

"Some of my fondest memories as a bus captain were made on this route," he said. "I watched passengers grow from children to adults and then to parents, continuing to ride the same route."

Captain Wong Chee-tsai has been training his captains to operate route 694S. "It will take 15 minutes to reach Hong Kong Island East from Lohas Park on the new route via the Tseung Kwan O Tunnel and the Eastern Harbour Crossing," he said.

The route 694S buses will gradually be joined by two additional retro double-deckers on other cross-harbor routes serving commuters in Kowloon West and Tseung Kwan O. Meanwhile, route 690S will also begin service today, transporting commuters from Hang Hau to Central for HK$16.

Two buses - a Volvo B8L and a China-made electric Weisheit - will depart from Ming Tak Estate in Hang Hau at 7.50am and 8.05am, passing through Lohas Park, Wan Chai and Admiralty, before arriving at the Central Exchange Square Bus Terminus.

They will depart from Central in the evening at 6.05pm and 6.25pm.

Meanwhile, Executive Council convener Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee slammed the bus operators' proposed "greedy" fare hikes, saying the move has drawn the ire of both the government and the public.

"The more bus fares increase, the more the government will have to subsidize," she said.

"The government will have to dig deeper and deeper into its pockets, while fares for those under 60 years old (senior citizens pay a flat rate of HK$2 per trip) will get more and more expensive."
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