Bus safety probe gets underway, seeks public submissions

A panel investigating the safety of Hong Kong bus services was formally established today.

The three-member committee, chaired by Justice Michael Lunn, will examine “from the point of view of safety” the operation and regulation of franchised buses.

The inquiry has been set up in the wake of the Tai Po accident in February that killed 19 people – the city’s worst accident in 15 years.

Justice Lunn said in a statement the committee was seeking submissions from the public as well as those involved in the industry.

The focus will likely be on the two big bus operators, KMB, whose vehicle was involved in the Tai Po crash, and Citybus.

KMB has a fleet of 3,920 and carries 2.7 million passengers daily. while Citybus runs 946 buses and carries 620,000 people each day.

New Lantao Bus, the smallest of the franchised operators, has 121 vehicles and carries 72,000 daily.

However, NLB buses have been involved in a series of minor accidents in recent years on the island’s steep hills and sharp bends.

Its management are usually among the strongest opponents of proposals to increase or enforce local speed limits.

The company is reportedly being sued by the family of a man who died after being struck by a no 34 mini-bus operated by NLB two years ago.

The inquiry invites those involved in the Tai Po and “other recent serious incidents involving franchised bus services, along with members of the public generally,” to make written submissions by April 30.

Details are on the committee website.

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