The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HZMB) is scheduled to open in the third quarter of this year. By then, an inter-city bus service will also be available, giving the public another commuting option.
It’s reported that a consortium with Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong participants have secured the operation right for running HZM Bus.
The total investment will be HK$500 million, and the consortium intends to introduce 170 buses to offer a 24-hour service.
The consortium has 13 shareholders, including five Hong Kong-registered entities, namely Kwoon Chung Motors, China National Travel Service (HK) Group, Chu Kong Shipping, Shun Tak Group, and Motor Transport Company of Guangdong and Hong Kong.
The initial period for the franchise is five years. Operators are entitled to the right of extending it by another five years at the end of the period.
Twenty double-decker and 100 regular buses will be introduced in the first stage.
It takes around 40 minutes to travel along the 43-kilometer-long HZMB.
The shuttle bus won’t cross the border into Hong Kong or Macau. Passengers from Hong Kong need to arrive at the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities first and leave Hong Kong border to take the shuttle bus.
The frequency of the service will be more than 300 per route, and the average waiting time is expected to be less than 10 minutes.
Mainland media reported that the one-way bus fare from Zhuhai to Hong Kong will cost HK$80, which is around one third of current ferry fare of HK$240. And the bus fare from Hong Kong to Macau or Zhuhai is around HK$80 to HK$100, which is also far cheaper than the ferry fare.
It’s said that nine of the current bus routes to the airport will be extended to the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities. Also, there will be three new bus routes and one mini-bus going there. Passengers can, of course, take a taxi if they like.
To enhance safety of the bus service, new technologies will be adopted.
Drivers will be monitored real-time through a camera in front of the driving seat to detect whether they are in the right physical situation. For instance, the control center will be alerted if a driver yawns more than three times within 20 seconds.
A wearable device will also be used to collect data like a driver’s rate of heartbeat and send it back to the control center.
In addition, an Israel smart system will be installed to measure the distance between vehicles and record speeding and other bad driving behavior.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on May 28
Translation by Julie Zhu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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