Kowloon Motor Bus Co. (KMB) has taken note of remarks made by current affairs commentator Albert Cheng in a column published in the Hong Kong Economic Journal last week.
We refute the criticism leveled against us regarding the quality of our bus captains and other issues related to our operations, and wish to point out the following facts to the public:
(1) Professional training
Kowloon Motor Bus offers professional training to its bus captains.
The company’s New Bus Captain Basic Training Programme has, in fact, received an Excellence Award from The Hong Kong Management Association.
New bus captains need to undergo a minimum 18 days training program that is overseen by a senior driving tutor, in classes that have a teacher-to-student ratio of 1:2.
Every bus captain needs to get certification by passing a driving test held by the government’s Transport Department.
Besides, we also arrange training for in-service bus captains to ensure that they can enhance their driving skills.
(2) Driving safety
Over the past 10 years, KMB maintained very low accident rate. There were only three accident cases for every million vehicle-kilometers. It shows that safety is always the top priority in our service.
(3) Salary of captains
Meanwhile, our arrangement on working hours conforms to the Transport Department guidelines, which is a 9.5-hour work day with an hour’s break for meal.
The average salary of new bus captains is about HK$16,500 per month, including the basic salary and bonus for good service, safe driving and freshman bonus. Over 90 percent of our captains receive the bonus.
KMB has a stable bus captain team with average service period of 12 years.
The voluntary attrition rate at KMB is 6.3 percent, which is lower than 18.5 percent average worker attrition rate in Hong Kong as announced by the Employers Federation of Hong Kong.
Providing reasonable salary and benefit can keep senior driver to work in KMB and that is the key for us to provide safe driving.
(5) Profit guarantee ratio
Under the government’s regulations, KMB can earn a profit only up to 9.7 percent of its fixed asset investment annually.
However, KMB made a loss of HK$51.5 million in 2012 and HK$21 million in 2013.
The government has a system to approve KMB’s applications for bus fare hikes, considering factors such as service quality, users’ affordability and how the change will be made.
The Transport Advisory Committee proposes the fare change plan, which will require approval from the Executive Council.
This rejoinder appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on June 10.
Translation by Charis Heung
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Why quality of KMB bus captains is declining – Albert Cheng [See here]