丹尼士飛鏢 Dennis Dart

編號 Class:AA

於一九九零年,丹尼士為回應香港對中型巴士之需求,引入了兩部配九米長Duple Dartline車身之飛鏢空調樣板巴士,車牌分別為EP5213(即後來之AA1)及EP1863(即後來之AA2),兩車機械配搭相同,分別在於EP5213採用了德國超卓出品的空調系統,即是日後九巴飛鏢車隊中標準的配搭,而EP1863則是日本電裝空調系統,日後只有AA24裝有同廠的空調系統。兩車分別被九巴及九廣鐵路巴士部用作試驗行走。值得留意,AA1及AA2所配車身跟後期中巴購入的飛鏢所配Carlyle車身設計一樣,是因為Duple關閉之後,這款Dartline車身設計稍後時間由Carlyle購得。

不過兩車在被測試完畢後,並未獲有關巴士公司購入及續牌,因此兩車便曾經待在車廠一段長時間,直到一九九三年,九巴購入二十個長九點八米飛鏢巴士底盤,並且連同兩架樣板車一併購入。是批新車除了在長度上有所分別之外,於車身取向也有所不同,九巴選取了都普車身廠之出品,而且全數底盤均於屯門車身裝嵌廠進行裝配車身工作。可惜的是,由於車身散件到港時間有所延誤,令到九巴需要延遲替新巴士進行車身裝嵌,結果自此之後,九巴再沒有任何單層巴士在港進行車身裝嵌。首批都普車身飛鏢巴士主要安排行走往返沙田巿中心及西貢的299,部份新車則在裝上行李架及絲絨高背座椅後,行走啟德機場路線。至於兩架九米飛鏢樣板車,在投入服務初期行走2號路線,其後被安排作荔枝角車廠後備車。

九巴隨後於九四年再引入另一批共二十部飛鏢巴士,雖然也是採用都普車身,但是在若干設計上則有所不同,例如車尾路線牌被移入車廂內,而且是由英國Wadham Stringer車身廠裝嵌。部份次批都普車身飛鏢巴士亦曾經改裝,加上行李架及使用絲絨高背座椅,用作行走啟德機場巴士之用。除了行走機場路線,部份屬第二批訂單之飛鏢巴士,則在稍後時間加裝手動減速器,用作行走51路線,以取代都城巴士之用。在一九九五年,九巴再引入共十一架配Northern Counties車身之飛鏢巴士,當中六架獲安排出牌並編入九巴車隊(AA43-48),行走212,216M及224X路線,餘下五架一直留在車廠,直到一九九七年初始獲登記,行走落馬洲過境穿梭巴士服務。至於前述的Northern Counties車身飛鏢,AA43-47亦於後來時間轉投皇崗過境巴士行列,令到AA48成為九巴車隊中唯一配Northern Counties車身之巴士。

一九九六年,為響應政府提出傷健一家親之精神,九巴率先引進兩部配Plaxton Pointer車身之低地台飛鏢巴士,並被冠以「易搭巴士」之名,這批飛鏢設有供輪椅乘客使用之電動斜板及於車廂中設有兩個供輪椅停泊之位置,成為車隊中首批可運載輪椅乘客的巴士。其後於一九九七年,十部同款新車投入服務,服務1A,60M,86K及88K路線。兩批低地台飛鏢在車廂配置上有少許分別,AA49及50只裝有普通巴士座椅,其後的低地台飛鏢則安裝有高背座椅。二零零三年九月,再有飛鏢巴士加入九巴車隊,十架配Plaxton Pointer 2型車身十點七米的雙門飛鏢低地台巴士從新巴手上購入,該批巴士於披上九巴車身色彩及更換坐椅成九巴規格後,初期被安排行走特別路線X76及訓練車長外,直到同年十一月皮獲安排行走往返翠竹花園及黃大仙地鐵站的211循環線。二零零七至零八年,三架購自新巴的雙門低地台飛鏢(HV6963,HV9990及HW2481)分別換上三款不同製造商的電子路線牌箱作測試之用。

在九十年代尾,隨著大量同廠短龍投入服務,九巴大部份飛鏢巴士被安排用作行走市區低載客量路線,而在郊區路線,鮮見有飛鏢巴士蹤影,主要原因是飛鏢巴士不大適合行走路面環境惡劣之路線。到了後來時間,隨著更多三菱巴士退役,以及郊區路面環境有所改善,飛鏢巴士陸續加入一些以往只由三菱巴士服務的新界北區路線,包括77K,78K及79K等。至於曾服啟德機場的飛鏢,則短暫行走九龍地鐵站接駁路線M1及M2,以及青衣機鐵站接駁路線248M及249M,隨著上述路線分別因取消及更換雙層巴士,這批飛鏢被安排到其他路線如30,34,203E及296服役。值得一提是AA31於二零零五年發生嚴重交通意外,經過兩年多維修,於二零零七年二月投入服務時,因原有車牌GE8781已經取消,需重新登記車牌成MT4228。

首架退出載客車隊的飛鏢是AA1,於一九九五年被改作九巴流動服務中心,定期到訪各區收集乘客意見,有關服務隨著AA1於二零零八年一月退役而取消。AA8於一九九七年,在一次交通意外後被改作訓練巴士。另外六架「易搭巴士」於二零零二年中退出九巴車隊,經翻新後轉售予珀麗灣客運,用作居民接駁巴士之用,並於同年十二月中復出行走至於另一架飛鏢樣板車是AA2,亦於二零零八年一月退役。二零零九年九月,AA5(FN1967)因底盤出現問題而退役,成為首架除牌退役的都普車身飛鏢巴士,至於其他於一九九三年投入服務的都普車身飛鏢巴士,亦由二零一零年三月開始分批退役。二零一一年,除了兩架曾獲安排行走51線的飛鏢(AA24及AA28)於牌照到期後未有安排續牌而退役,還有兩架飛鏢因交通意外而退役,包括次批都普車身飛鏢中第一架的AA23,以及第二架「易搭巴士」AA50。

隨著全新配備手動減速器的亞歷山大丹尼士飛鏢E200於二零一一年八月投入51路線服務,原有在這路線服務的飛鏢巴士被安排退下來,並調到巿區行走渡過餘生。最終第二批配都普車身的飛鏢亦由二零一二年九月起開始退役,最後一架(AA42/GG6508)於二零一三年一月十五日行走最後一程211路線後退役,九巴車隊中只餘下AA48是非低地台版本飛鏢,而AA48本身亦是全港最後一架載客的Northern Counties車身單層巴士。AA48於二零一四年三月十三日完成載客工作返回車廠後,便再沒有被派出路面上服務乘客,無獨有偶,AA48最後一條服務乘客的路線亦是211。而隨著它的行車牌照於二零一四年三月十五日屆滿後,九巴車隊中的單層巴士均是低地台巴士。

而在AA48退役後差不多兩個月後,首架低地台飛鏢AA49亦於二零一四年五月八日除牌退役,比對早年轉售至珀麗灣的兄弟,服務年期還要長,而餘下四架單門版低地台飛鏢亦先後於二零一四年五月至二零一五年年初退役,其中最後一架的單門飛鏢巴士,AA60(HC1932)於退役後被改作訓練巴士,取代AA8於訓練學校的位置。

而來自新巴的雙門飛鏢,AA64(HV8986)於二零一四年八月因底盤出現問題而退役外,餘下仍然服役的九架飛鏢,則仍然主力行走東九龍區路線2D及211,到了二零一五年八月開始,這批購自新巴的飛鏢亦陸續退役,當中最後一架AA70(HV9990)於二零一六年九月九日取消登記,同時替飛鏢巴士服役於九巴車隊的生涯寫下了一個休止符。

在九巴飛鏢巴士服役長達二十六個年頭裡,除了上述提及的路線,曾經出現飛鏢巴士路線多不勝數,包括有2C,5D,7B,7M,8A,8P,10,12, 14C, 15A,24,28B,46,74A,74K,80M,87K,94,99,208,234A,234B,270,272K,273,275R,282,283,284,285及N293等。另外,九巴更曾利用飛鏢作為竹園邨總站的臨時休息室,而除了AA1幸運地得到私人保留外,其餘飛鏢巴士於退役後均被拆毀。

In 1990, to response the demand of midibus for different operators, Dennis introduced two 9m Duple Dartline bodied Dart demonstrators for testing in Hong Kong. Their registration number are EP5213 and EP1863 which later become AA1 and AA2 in KMB respectively. These two buses share same specification except the air-conditioning unit. EP5213 was fitted with Sutrak product while a Nippon-Denso air-conditioning unit was fitted on EP1863. One thing had to be mentioned is Sutrak air-con unit to be the standard for Dennis Dart in KMB fleet with AA24 is an exception, a Denso unit was chosen. Both demonstrators were tested by KMB and KCRC bus division respectively. The design of Dartline bodyworks was sold to Carlyle after the closure of Duple and that's why the appearance of Carlyle bodyworks fitted on the Dart in CMB fleet is identical to these two demonstrators.

After the trial run, they were left in the depot after the expiry of the license until 1993. When KMB placed an order of 20 9.8m long Dart chassis, they also bought two demonstrators. Instead of the differences between the length of the chassis, all Dennis Darts are fitted with Duple Metsec bodyworks and assembled at the Tuen Mun assembly plant. However, due to delay of  the delivery of body kits, the construction works of these Dart had to postpone and as a result, no more single decker of KMB received their bodywork locally until now. After the registration of this batch Duple Metsec bodied Dart, they were mainly assigned on route 299 linked between Sha Tin Central and Sai Kung. Several Dennis Dart were modified with luggage racks and high-backed seats and serving Airbus routes of Kai Tak Airport. Both Duple Dartline samples were found on route 2 and then as a reserve of Lai Chi Kok depot.

KMB then introduced it second batch of Dart in 1994, although all of them still bodied by Duple Metsec, they were assembled by Wadham Stringer in Britain. There are some modifications on the design of the bodyworks like the relocated of rear route indicator box. Liked the first batch of Dennis Dart, some Darts belonged to this batch were equipped with luggage racks and coach seats for serving the Kai Tak Airport routes. In addition, some Darts among this batch are fitted with manual retarder for serving route 51 as to replace the Metrobus. KMB were further ordered a total of 11 Northern Counties bodied Dart in 1995 and five of them were registered as AA43-48 and mainly seen on 212, 216M and 224X. The remaining five were awaiting at depot until the opening of the cross boarder bus service between Lok Ma Chau and Huangguang in Mar., 1997. AA43-47 were then transferred to this cross-boarder service in 1997 and AA48 become the sole Northern Counties bus in the fleet.

To respond the spirit of equal opportunities for the able-bodied and disabled, KMB introduced it first wheelchair accessible bus, a pair of Dennis Dart Super Low Floor with Plaxton  Pointer bodyworks in 1996. The Dart SLF was promoted as " Easy Access Bus", these Darts featured with a powered ramp and dedicated wheelchair space. 10 similar super low floor Darts were commenced in 1997 and serving 1A, 60M, 86K and 88K. There are some differences in interior between these two batches of Dart SLF. High-backed seats fitted on the Dart SLF entered service in 1997 while the first two did not. A further 10 Dart SLF joined KMB in Sep., 2003. This batch is 10.7m in length with Plaxton Pointer 2 bodyworks and acquired from NWFB. All of them were first used on special service X76 with standard KMB livery and seats but re-deployed on route 211, serving between Tsui Chuk Garden and Wong Tai Sin MTR Station since Nov., 2003. 3 of the second-hand Dennis Dart SLF, HV6963,HV9990 and HW2481 were installed with electronic displays between 2007 and 2008 from different suppliers for testing.

Dennis Dart is mainly serving urban routes with low passenger demand after the commissioned of Dennis Dragon 9.9m. As the road conditions was terrible and not suitable for the Dart, it was a rare sight for Dart on countryside routes. However, as more and more Mitsubishi midibuses withdrawn from the fleet and the improvement works done on the road in countryside, the Dart then found their new life with routes serving the Northern New Territories like 77K, 78K and 79K. Those samples serving Kai Tak Airport before were allocated on feeder route of MTR Tung Chung line like M1, M2, 248M and 249M. After the cancellation of M1 and M2 together with replaced by double-decker on 248M and 249M, they were then re-deployed on route 30, 34, 203E and 296. AA31 was seriously damaged after an accident and re-entered service again in Feb., 2007 with the original registration number GE8781 changed to MT4228.

The first Dennis Dart withdrawn from passenger service is AA1 and converted to a mobile passenger service center in 1995. AA1 was visiting different districts to collect passengers comment on bus services until 2008 when it was delicensed. AA8 was converted to training bus after a traffic accident in 1997 . There were total 6 "Easy Access Bus" withdrawn at mid 2002 and after refurbishment, they were transferred to Park Island Transport Co. Ltd as residential bus service in mid of Dec. 02. The only Dart demonstrator left in passenger service, AA2 was retired in Jan., 2008. Among AA3-22(except AA8), the first to be withdrawn is AA5(FN1967)  as a result of chassis failure and was delicensed in Sep., 2009. For the remaining, they were gradually withdrawn from the fleet since Mar., 2010. In 2011, there were 4 Dennis Dart off from the service fleet. AA24 and 28 were retired after their license expired while AA23 and AA50 (the second Dart SLF in KMB) were written off after traffic accident.

The Dart used to serve route 51 was already replaced by Alexander Dennis Enviro200Dart since Aug., 2011 and deployed on urban routes serving the commuters. Finally, all Duple Metsec bodied Dart reached the end of their service life since Sep., 2012 with AA42(GG6508) to be the last withdrawn in Jan., 2013. In addition, the unique AA48 not only become the last single decker with Northern Counties bodywork in Hong Kong but also the last step-entranced single decker in KMB. On 13 Mar., 2014, when AA48 completed it very last trip on route 211, it was finally retired when it license expired two days later.

The first Dart SLF AA49 was retired on 8 May, 2014 and it service life is much longer than those sold to Park Island Transport Co.. While the remaining first hand Dart SLF in the fleet, were retired between May 2014 and early 2015. The last single door Dart, AA60(HC1932), converted to training bus after withdrawn from revenue service and took the place of AA8 in KMB Training School.

There were still 9 Dennis Dart left in the fleet after the withdrawn of AA64(HV8986) in Aug., 2014 and mainly serving route 2D, and 211 in Eastern Kowloon. Finally, this batch of Dart acquired from NWFB were gradually phased out from KMB between Aug., 2015 and Sep., 2016 with the last member, AA70(HV9990) delicensed on 9 Sep., 2016 and marked the end of the story of Dennis Dart serving in KMB fleet.

Instead of the route mentioned above, during the 26 years of useful service life in KMB, there were still many routes once served with Dart within the KMB networks included 2C, 5D, 7B, 7M, 8A, 8P, 10, 12, 14C, 15A, 24, 28B, 46, 74A, 74K, 80M, 87K, 94, 99, 208, 234A, 234B, 270, 272K, 273, 275R, 282, 283, 284, 285, N293 etc.. In addition, KMB once allocated Dennis Dart as mobile rest room at Chuk Yuen Estate terminus and instead of AA1 is under preserved, other Darts were scrapped after withdrawal.


AA1 - 42

AA48

AA49 - 60

AA61 - 70


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