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Shek-O Bus Terminus
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This page was created in March 2005 following the release of a model of a China Motor Bus Guy Arab Mk V double-deck bus with a diorama of Shek-O Bus Terminus. The page has been updated several times since then, with the addition of numerous photographs spanning the life of the bus terminus and recording the various bus types using the terminus during this time. If you are able to provide any additional information or photographs, then do please e-mail me.

   
Its history
   
The building at Shek-O Bus Terminus was constructed in 1955. It was formerly used by the China Motor Bus Company Limited (CMB) as a bus terminus, a watchman’s quarter and garage.

Shek-O Bus Terminus is designed by Hsin Yieh Architects which was founded by a well-known Chinese architect Su Gin Djih. It is a two-storey utilitarian building of reinforced concrete frame with beams and columns which support the first floor slab, the cantilevered balcony, and the mono-pitched flat roof. The use of reinforced concrete framing allows hollowed-out spaces for the bus shelter, open balcony and stairwell creating the illusion of a floating box. A rear staircase provides access to the first floor from the car park. It is built in the Modernist or International Modern style. This style of architecture is generally accepted as having originated in Germany at the Bauhaus school of art in the 1920s.

The elegantly composed volumes together with the cantilevered first floor slab and roof slab give the building a sticking elegance and lightness. The horizontal emphasis derives from the prevalent International Mannerist of the time. Natural organic materials are used in the masonry plinth, the end flanking walls and the stacked stonewall at the NW and the stack stone wall at the NW end which anchors the building to the ground. The use of stone cladding in this way possibly derived from so-called “organic architecture” that is visually and environmentally compatible and closely intergraded with the site. There are a number of examples of this style to be found in Hong Kong, but the most famous was Frank Lloyd Wright’s. Fallingwater (Kanfmann House), built in 1935-39, has been described as arguably the most important twentieth-century house in the United States. The use of natural materials contrasts with the plain man-made concrete structure and is said to symbolise both the romance of nature and the triumph of man. The playful use of Art Deco lettering on the balcony fascia and the chevron shaped ventilation holes in the shelter wall of Shek O Bus Terminus Building are typical of 1950s decorative art and give the building a cheerful and appealing look. This unique character and appearance is a great reminder of a certain period of history in Hong Kong.

The terminus appears briefly in the opening sequence of Steven Soderbergh's 2011 film 'Contagion' - more about this can be found in the PIN-UP article below.

The small bus terminus is possibly unique in Hong Kong and should be considered to be a rare piece of iconic 1950s architecture with built heritage value. It has retained its authenticity although some windows and a doorway in the rear elevation have been blocked up and the staircase balustrading replaced. Doors and windows to the ticket office and quarters have also been replaced. These alterations are considered to be easily reversed.

In November 2021 scaffolding had been erected and work commenced to renovate the building to its original condition.


Above photograph courtesy and copyright of Andrew Suddaby 367 Association.

This photograph is believed to have been taken in 1958 and shows the terminus in pristine condition. I am grateful Andrew Suddaby for allowing me to share this photograph and also to the website "Gwulo: Old Hong Hong", where I came across the photograph, for their assistance. The site features over 30,000 pages about old Hong Kong and I would strongly recommend you take a look.
   
The original diorama - 2005
 
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The above photographs show the Best Choose diorama featuring China Motor (CMB) Bus Guy Arab Mk V (02046S) and a model of the terminus, which was released on 31st March 2005. Photographs courtesy and copyright of Philip Chan.
 
The terminus - the '70s, '80s & '90s
   
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Captured on 7th May 1976 by John Scragg is China Motor Bus Guy Arab S28, which was originally a single-deck bus.
   

   
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Pictured on the left is China Motor Bus Guy Arab Mk V M17 taken in 1983 whilst two years later, in 1985rebodied Guy Arab Mk V LX344 is captured in the same location.
 Photographs courtesy and copyright of John G Lidstone.
      
John is renowned for his huge collection of transport photographs and his Flickr site contains almost 100,000 photographs, so well worth a look. The above photographs are taken from his albums, CMB Snapshot 1983 and CMB Snapshot 1985.
     

   
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 Following the creation of this page, regular contributor Donald MacRae kindly sent me the above photographs which he took at the terminus in October 1995. These show China Motor Bus Leyland Victory Mk 2 LV138 leaving the terminus and heading back to Shau Kei Wan on Route 9. Donald has a superb collection of bus photographs, totalling over 80,000 on his SmugMug site, so well worth a look.   
        

 
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My thanks to Jonathan Ho for allowing me to share his photograph of the terminus taken in 1997.
   

 
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Captured in January 1998 is China Motor Bus Leyland Victory Mk 2 LV89.
Tim Moore
      

   
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 This photograph shows China Motor Bus Leyland Victory Mk2 LV131 arriving.
Winston Lau
   
The terminus - 2000 to 2009
   
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New World First Bus lowheight Duple Metsec bodied Dennis Trident 3321 captured in March 2002.
 Dave Rogers.
   

   
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Having visited Shek-O myself in November 2002, it prompted me to look out the photos l took. The Guy Arabs of CMB had gone, as had the company itself!  Plenty of low floor buses of New World First Bus were in evidence, these being short (10.3 metre) Dennis Tridents with a low-height Duple Metsec body, some of which were a only a few months old when photographed. Here we see New World First Bus Dennis Tridents 3319 (left) and 3348/3347 (right).
   

   
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I am extremely grateful to Eric for kindly providing these excellent shots taken in May 2005.
   

   
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When Donald MacRae visited again in November 2007, the terminus had clearly received a makeover!   
   

     
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This photograph shows the terminus in April 2008.
My thanks to Yun Huang Yong for allowing me to share his photograph, which is from his Flickr site.
       

I made a further visit on 25th November 2009, arriving on Trident 3340 and leaving on 3331. Clear blue skies were evident and the beach idyllic! 
   
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The terminus - 2010 to 2019
    
I am again grateful to Donald MacRae for allowing me share this selection of photographs taken during his visit in April 2011
   
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A selection of Duple Metsec bodied Dennis Tridents in the terminus whilst the final photograph was taken on the Dragon's Back
 where
Dennis Trident 3334 was spotted  on Shek-O Road.
  

   
My thanks to David Howlett, not only for sending me this photograph taken on 12th November 2013, but also for advising that the terminus had received a higher historical status.
   
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The following is the article that appeared in the South China Morning post on 11th September 2013
   

A 58-year-old bus terminus that was in a Hollywood movie scene will get a higher historical status, government heritage advisers have decided.

The terminus, which was featured in Steven Soderbergh's 2011 film Contagion starring Matt Damon and Jude Law, was built in Shek O in 1955 by the now-defunct China Motor Bus, which operated routes on Hong Kong Island. It was used as a watchman's quarters and garage.

The two-storey privately owned building was one of the few non-residential architectural examples still standing in the Southern District, the Antiquities Advisory Board noted at its meeting yesterday.

A lower grade-three status had been initially proposed, but many on the 23-member board, as well as Shek O residents, believed it merited a higher rating.

"The building was constructed in a very unique cantilevered style. The assessment panel has decided to upgrade it from grade three to grade two," board chairman Andrew Lam Siu-lo said as he announced the majority decision.

"The grading reflects the special merits of higher architectural and heritage value."

The terminus, which sits on government land, is known for its large cantilevered balcony, mono-pitched flat roof and art-deco lettering on the fascia.

The board concluded the building was designed in a unique Bauhaus style of architecture, which promotes clean, modern lines and functionality.

A changing room previously occupied the upper floor, with an office on the lower floor. Drivers of CMB, which once held a monopoly on Hong Kong Island bus routes, used the building as a rest area after long trips into Shek O.

He said the board endorsed the conversion of old buildings for new uses as long as mitigation measures were put in place to safeguard architectural, design and heritage values


   
Blue skies prevailed when the following photographs were taken in January 2014. I came across these on The Industrial History of Hong Kong Group website, where a whole host of historical topics are featured and it is well worth a look. My thanks to Hugh Farmer and Malcolm Morris for allowing me to share these excellent photographs.  
    
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Hugh Farmer and Malcolm Morris
The Industrial History of Hong Kong Group
    

    
The following evening shot was also taken in 2014 
   
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My thanks to the Hong Kong Free Press for allowing me to share this photograph, which appears in an article on the bus terminus written by Mercedes Hutton and published in May 2022. To view this article, just follow this link.
   

   
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New World First Bus 3846 ADL 'facelift' Enviro400 seen here in October 2019 undergoing route training.
   
Filmnbus
   
PIN-UP magazine article - July 2020
   
In early May 2020 I was contacted by Emily Verla Bovino, an Art History Professor based in Hong Kong, who was researching the bus terminus and who had come across my site in doing so. She was interested in the diorama of the terminus released by Best Choose back in 2005. After an exchange of e-mails, and a Skype conversation, and more emails, the finished article was published online in PIN-UP magazine on 9th July 2020 (see below). Thanks to Philip Chan, who had similar conversations with Emily, and whose photographs of the diorama were published, along with Donald MacRae and Dave Rogers for allowing the use of their photographs in the article.

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The re-issued terminus model - 2020
   
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Following the release by Tiny of their two unlicensed Citybus ADL Enviro400s in June 2020, Singson Wong posted a photograph of one of these models placed on the diorama where previously the China Motor Bus Guy Arab Mk V had rested.

Singson was then kind enough to take a selection of photographs of the diorama and these are featured below.

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All photographs Singson Wong
 
In late August 2020, Hong Kong model bus retailer Network Shuttle listed the model of the terminus, without a bus, on it's website. Having ordered one, it arrived in early September. The only difference I can spot between that issued back in 2005 and this one is the use of etched metal railings on this model, whereas the original appears to have tubular style railings that were possibly plastic.

 
In October 2021, Matthew Chung posted the following photographs on social media, These show a diorama of the bus terminus with a low-height New World First Bus Duple Metsec bodied Dennis Trident.
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The photograph below shows New World First Bus Leyland Victory Mk 2 LV4 awaiting departure.
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Matthew Chung
   
The terminus - 2020 to present day
     
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Charles Lai
   
This photograph was taken in October 2020 and shows the terminus in a state of disrepair.


   
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Terence Tong

Captured on 19th February 2021 is
New World First Bus ADL Enviro400 3849 displaying 'Happy New Year' on it's destination screen. The wearing of masks confirms the ongoing presence of the Covid-19 epidemic.

     
The following photographs give a close-up view of the terminus and were taken on 26th May 2021. Again the poor state of the building is emphasised. My thanks to Henry Chow for allowing me to share his excellent photographs.                        
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Henry Chow

    
On the evening of 14th November 2021, New World First Bus 'lowheight' Alexander Dennis 'facelift' Enviro400 3823 (US6599) is parked up awaiting its departure for Shau Kei Wan. Scaffolding for renovation work on the terminus is evident.
   
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Dennis Ngan
 
The following photographs were taken on 21st November 2021, a week on from the above photograph, and show the current state of work and also 'close up' details of the ground floor. My special thanks to Dennis Ngan for sending me these photographs and for parking 'his' bus in an appropriate position so as to facilitate them!! 
 
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Dennis Ngan
    
Almost two weeks on (4th December 2021) and the work continues, with clear signs of the vast improvement in the building's appearance. The cantilevered balcony has been painted and the lettering is complete!

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Network Shuttle
   
In November 2021 I contacted 1823.gov.uk to enquire about the works being carried out at the terminus and received the following response on 14th December:-

"Upon receipt of your enquiry, the Transport Department has referred to the concerned bus company for their response.

The bus company replied that the undergoing works include the overall repair and renovation of the Shek-O Bus Terminus. The works is expected to be completed by early 2022.

Thank you for your attention."

   
The following photographs were taken on Christmas Day 2021 and show the renovation work almost completed. My thanks once again to Dennis Ngan for taking the time to take the photographs and to send them to me. Once again he has positioned his bus so as to get a clear view!
    





 

 

Dennis Ngan
                                                       

                                               
A further scale model of the terminus was announced in late December 2021, this time being to a scale of 1/120. It is produced by Model 1.
   
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This superb shot was taken by Dennis Leung on 2nd January 2022.
   
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Dennis Leung
 

The following photographs were taken on 10th February 2022.
   
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Matthew Chung
 

The following photographs show the interior of the terminus and were taken on 19th February 2022.
 
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Dennis Ngan
   

The following photograph was taken on 21st April 2022.
   
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Looking like new and not a bus in sight - my thanks again to the Hong Kong Free Press for allowing me to share this photograph, which appears in an article on the bus terminus written by Mercedes Hutton and published in May 2022. To view this article, just follow this link.
  

The following photograph was taken on 25th April 2023.
   
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Network Shuttle
 
On 24th April 2023, NWFB announced it had applied 'Farewell NWFB' banners to two ADL 'facelift' Envro400s, namely 3807 and 3830. 3807 was spotted the following day at Shek O ready to depart on route 9 to Shau Kei Wan.
 

The following photograph was taken on 3rd June 2023
      
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Terence Tong
 
My thanks to Terence Tong for parking his bus so as to get this image of New World First Bus ADL 'facelift' Enviro500 3830.

   

The following photographs were taken on 29th June 2023, the day prior to the end of the New World Fist Bus brand.  3830 is again the visitor, again ready to depart for Shau Kei Wan.  My thanks to Wei Shen Teo for sharing his photographs.
 
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Wei Shen Teo
   

This was the scene at 1.30am on Saturday 1st July 2023 with the last New World First Bus departure on route 9.  My thanks to Puch Thom for sending me these photographs.
                                                                               
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Puch Thom


Hong Kong experienced its worst flooding in 140 years on 7th/ 8th September 2023 when some parts of the city saw over 19 inches of rainfall in 24 hours.  Shek O Road was closed as a result of landslides meaning the village was cut off.  A single lane carriageway was opened on Saturday evening (9th) allowing light vehicles to pass. On Sunday 10th, buses were allowed to pass, but only single-deckers. Former New World First Bus 2504 Alexander Dennis Enviro200 is pictured below. Double-deck buses returned to the route on 23 September and former New World First Bus Alexander Dennis 'facelift' Enviro400 3852 is pictured below. Once again Dennis Leung has kindly parked his bus to enable a clear shot of the terminus! My thanks to both Dennis and Empty Transport for allowing me to share their photographs.
                                                                               
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Empty Transport
   

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Dennis Leung
     
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Page last updated Monday, 25th September 2023
 
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