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Hong Kong Bus Operators .. KMB
The end of Route 70 - 6th December 2008
 
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Route 70
the facts
 
Jordan (Wui Cheung Road)
 Sheung Shui 
  Journey distance:  37.7km   
  Journey time:  105 mins  
  Non air-con fare:   HK$8.2 as at Oct 08   
  Air-con fare:  HK$11.2 as at Oct 08   
 
Route 70
the history

On 27th January 1968, after the opening of Lion Rock Tunnel, Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) introduced route 19, which ran from Sheung Shui, located in the northern-most part of the New Territories close to the border with China, to Kowloon (Jordan Road Ferry).

On 16th July 1973, as part of KMB's improvements to bus services in the New Territories, the renumbering took place of several routes and route 19 became route 70. At the time, this was the most direct bus route between Sheung Shui and Kowloon. To cater for the new development at Sheung Shui, the route was converted to double-deck operation, running on a high frequency timetable. These double-deckers were some of the first to operate on routes outside of the Kowloon area. With a shortage of new buses at the time, KMB purchased over 100 second-hand buses from the UK, including 28 AEC Regent Vs and 7 Daimlers, and it was buses from these two batches that were pressed into service on route 70. The route proved to be highly successful, its only competition being the Kowloon & Canton Railway (KCR), which at the same time was becoming very overcrowded.

These second-hand buses proved unreliable and were ousted when KMB introduced the Leyland Victory Mk 2 in the early 1980s. After the opening of Tolo Harbour Highway in 1985 and with the modernisation of the railway, passenger numbers on the route began to fall.

On 13th January 1997, air-conditioned buses were introduced, although it never became a fully air-conditioned route. Mercedes-Benz 0305s also operated the route in the late 90s.

KMB did attempt to cancel the route, but were unsuccessful owing to objections from the district councillors and residents of Tai Po District.

In 2008, with the Transport Department reporting that route 70 was the most loss making route, losing an estimated 8 million HK dollars in 2007, its future looked bleak. It later announced that the route would be cancelled on 1st October 2008, but this proposal was subsequently postponed, but only until late November, when KMB formally issued the following:-

 
KMB Press Release - 24th November 2008
KMB Route 70, which has long recorded low patronage, will cease to operate with effect from (Sun) 7 Dec 2008. This move will help improve traffic flow and minimise road-side air pollution and fuel consumption. KMB will provide twelve Octopus Bus-bus Interchange discount packages and seven same-day return fare concession schemes for Octopus-paying passengers, which will ensure that the new same-day return fares are not higher than the existing fares on non air-conditioned buses of Route 70.
 
 
The following quote sums up the route superbly:-

 'The 70 was a real gem for fans of long non-aircon rides, and may have been unique in encountering the full spectrum of Hong Kong  life/locations, from the crowded Nathan Road through the Lion Rock tunnel,  around the towns of Shatin and Tai Po, the sea views across Tolo Harbour'.

Chris Martin - December 2008
 
Route 70
the models

Six models have been issued on route 70, all with the destination of Sheung Shui. Four feature the Leyland Victory Mk2, Corgi 44804 and Collector's Model V201B, V202B and V207B, the fifth Corgi's AEC Regent Mk V OM41108 and the sixth is the resin Albion Chieftan from Hong Kong Model Co. 8162A.

 
 Route 70
the buses
Below are a selection of photographs showing the various types of vehicles used
on route 70 over recent years.
 
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Mercedes-Benz 0305 ME29 - Jordan
2001/2 - Leyland Fleetline
 
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 Mercedes-Benz 0305 ME22 - Jordan
2001/2 - Leyland Fleetline
MCW Metrobus S3M23 - Jordan
2001/2 - Leyland Fleetline
 
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Scania N113 AS2 - Jordan
Leyland Fleetline
 
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MCW Metrobus S3M192 - Jordan
February 2002 - Donald MacRae
Volvo Olympian S3V29 - Jordan
February 2004 - Donald MacRae
 
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 Leyland Olympian S3BL405 - Jordan 
November 2006 - Donald MacRae
Dennis Dragon S3N268 - Jordan
December 2006 - Philip Chan
 
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Dennis Dragon S3N270
June 2007 - Philip Chan
Leyland Olympian S3BL405 - Jordan 
November 2007 - Donald MacRae
 
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Dennis Dragon S3N353 leaving Sheung Shui
November 2007 - Donald MacRae
Dennis Dragon S3N359 - Sheung Shui
November 2007
 
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Dennis Dragon S3N351
December 2007 - Philip Chan
Dennis Dragon S3N312
December 2007 - Philip Chan
 
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Leyland Olympian S3BL410 - Jordan
This vehicle was to operate the last service of route 70 
November 2008 - Donald MacRae
 
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Leyland Olympian AL48 - Tai Po 
November 2008 - Donald MacRae
Dennis Dragon ADS6
November 2008 - Donald MacRae
 
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Immaculately presented for a 15 year-old vehicle
Leyland Olympian S3BL466 - Tai Wo Service Road
November 2008 - Chris Martin
 
Route 70
the final journeys
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Dennis Dragon S3N300 - Jordan (Wui Cheung Road)
6th December 2008 - Dennis Wong
Volvo Olympian S3V6 - Jordan (Wui Cheung Road)
6th December 2008 - Dennis Wong
 
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Dennis Dragon ADS169 - Jordan (Wui Cheung Road)
6th December 2008 - Dennis Wong
 
At the end of the day, about 400 people (most being bus enthusiasts) gathered at Sheung Shui, forcing KMB to allocate two additional buses for the final departure. (i.e. three buses departing at 0045). The buses used were Leyland Olympians S3BL420 and S3BL410 and Dennis Dragon 3AD153.

Another group of about 200 people took the very last departure from Jordan. Dennis Dragon S3N300 was allocated the task but Volvo Olympian S3V6 was required as an additional departure from Kowloon.

My sincere thanks to Dennis Law for not only recording on camera the departures at Sheung Shui, but also for sending them to me for use on my site so soon after the event.
 
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 .............  and their arrival at Jordan
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All the above photographs courtesy and copyright of Dennis Law
 
My thanks to Dave Rogers, Keith Wood, Donald MacRae, Chris Martin, David Rowe, Philip Chan and  Leyland Fleetline for submitting various photographs for inclusion in this page. Unfortunately, owing to the sheer number of photographs received, I have been unable to use all of them. My special thanks to Dennis Law for his superb photographs of the event itself, which I am sure you will agree, almost makes you believe you were part of it! 
 
 

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This page last updated Tuesday, 9th December 2008
 
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