Nineteen-seat green minibuses have made their debut on Hong Kong roads, adding to the city’s range of public transport.
The city’s first 19-seat bus started operation on Wednesday, ferrying passengers between Tai Po Market Station and Tai Mei Tuk, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The company operating the 20C route, AMS Public Transport Holdings, said that although the new minibus carries more seats, it doesn’t mean that the driver will wait at the stop until all the seats are fully occupied.
Until now, public minibuses in the city were allowed only up to 16 seats under government-set rules. Years of talks between transport department authorities and the operators have led to the seating capacity being raised, allowing for little larger vehicles to be pressed into service.
Besides the 20C route, AMS Public Transport is plying a 19-seater on the route 4M, which runs between Aberdeen and Wong Chuk Hang Station. The service began on Thursday.
Another operator, Koon Wing Motors, will use the new buses on route 101M between Hang Hau Station and Sai Kung. The service with the 19-seater is expected to begin this week.
Chan Man-chun, chief executive officer of AMS, said his company plans to gradually convert its 16-seaters to 19-seat vehicles in four years, Apple Daily reported.
The increased seating capacity in the minibuses will shorten the waiting times for passengers in queue during rush hours, he said.
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