|In 1994, Mike Davis published the first
of four volumes on Hong Kong's buses. Mike has now brought the Hong Kong
bus story into the 21st Century by writing a fifth volume about the buses
of New World Bus Services Limited, a company founded in March 1998 for
the express purpose of bidding for the franchise to operate 88 routes on
Hong Kong Island, a franchise then held by China Motor Bus but which was
due to expire unexpectedly on 31st August 1998. It goes without saying
that the bid was successful with much financial and managerial effort by
British based FirstGroup.
Mike follows the process which commenced
with the announcement of the successful tenderer and follows events through
to the days immediately prior to the change-over from one operator to the
other. British managers who have taken over a service from an incumbent
may ask, "What is the big deal?" How many have taken over 88 routes
at once, involving over 700 buses and with many busy routes spanning the
midnight take-over time? Only 199 acquired buses were air-conditioned
but NWFB committed to replacing no less than 500 non-air-conditioned vehicles
within two years. This it did in little more than 18-months!
But this series of books is largely
about buses and it is thus that the bulk of the text is concerned with
the vehicles, the format following the previous four volumes in that each
type or class of bus is described in as much detail as is available.
There are 20-year-old Leyland Victory and Dennis Jubilant double-deckers,
the last front engined bus type to operate in Hong Kong as well as 500
state of the art 3-axle Dennis Trident and Volvo 'Super Olympian' bus types.
In A4 format, with 90 pages and 186 illustrations,
most in colour, Mike has sought the best of the Hong Kong bus photographers
as well as including a handful of his own. Technical information has been
confirmed by the Chief Engineer at the time of the change-over and the
Corporate Communications Department has given its support and assistance
but, this is an independent book, not an official record by or for the
During the mid-1990s, DTS Publishing produced
four books on the Hong Kong bus scene; Vol 1 detailed the history of the
China Motor Bus Company; Vol 2 covered the Kowloon Motor Bus Co. (1933)
Ltd.; Vol 3 looked at Citybus Limited and Vol 4 was the Argos Bus Services
Co. Ltd. Although now out of print, these books remain the standard
works on the subject.