丹尼士巨龍 Dennis Dragon
為了配合利蘭勝利二型及丹尼士喝采兩款前置引擎巴士退役時間表，九巴於一九九五年至九六年間再向丹尼士引入兩批共一百五十五架，配用歐盟一型康明斯引擎的短龍巴士，車身散件仍舊由都普提供並於本港裝配完成，自它們投入服務後，迅即壯大了九巴的空調巴士服務網絡。第二批一百一十架新車(ADS31 - 145)於一九九六年二月至七月期間陸續投入服務，車廂依舊採用三加二座位設計，是九巴最後一批使用相關配置的巴士，同時由這批短龍開始，空調系統亦採用了全新設計之日本電裝出品。這批短龍除了編配到原有採用勝利二型及喝采行走路線外，亦接替一些原由三菱MK及丹尼士飛鏢服役的路線，當中包括3B，15，24K，64K，80M，91，212，234X，282，284及299等，一併提升了相關路線營運效率以及服務水平。至於第三批共四十架的短龍(ADS146 - 185)則於一九九六年十二月至九七年二月登記出牌，而為提供更舒適的乘坐環境，這批短龍車廂不單改為二加二座位設計，而且全數裝配高背座椅。九巴在這批載客量稍低的新車投入服務後，替一些以兩軸雙層巴士作主力的路線，包括沙田區路線81M及86A，九龍灣廠的15A及113引進空調巴士服務，當中短龍加入113線之後，標誌著全數九巴過海隧道線都提有供空調巴士服務。至於當時接駁邊境禁區及上水的73K，78K及79K，亦於一九九七年年中利用二加二短龍接替原先在這三條路線上的勝利二型，並同時實現全空調服務，提升服務質素。
九巴於一九九七年向丹尼士訂購了第四批為數共五十架，也是最後一批的短龍巴士(ADS186 - 235)。值得一提的地方是，丹尼士早於一九九六年宣佈以源自單層版本長矛的飛箭，作為取代統治者的新一代雙層巴士，不過廠方於統治者停產之後，仍然特別另闢生產線，以完成包括這五十架短龍的訂單，以滿足當時來自香港(主要是九巴)的需求。不同於對上三批短龍在香港完成車身裝嵌，這批新車底盤於運抵香港後，被安排北上到位於廣州增城穗景客車廠裝配車身，並於一九九九年初至年中投入服務。這批新車初期主要替東九龍區路線如5C，11C，11K及21等帶來空調巴士服務，接替同廠退役的喝采，而稍後時間加入屯門廠的成員，則成為了當時的天水圍新線264M的主力，直到被簇新的富豪奧林比安十一米取代為止。除了車身裝嵌地有所分別外，這批最後短龍全數符合歐盟二型排放標準，上層車頭擋風玻璃擁有較低的扶手柱，而且在某幾個高危座位上加設了安全帶，從而替乘客提供一個更安全的乘車環境。自從這五十架新車投入服務後，九巴便把低地台作為購車的新標準，這批短龍亦成為九巴最後一批購入的非低地台巴士。
首架退役的丹尼士短龍是ADS94(GT7822)，於二零零八年九月因為遇上交通意外，底盤損毀嚴重而於同年十月除牌。另外，ADS174(HB691)亦於二零零九年十一月，同樣因為發生嚴重交通意外而未有修復，隨後於二零一零年三月除牌。而在經過十八個寒暑後，九巴亦有計劃陸續淘汰第一代丹尼士短龍，當中ADS25(FU1098)率先於二零一一年一月底退役，至於其他第一代短龍亦自二零一一年年中開始分批退出載客車隊，而最後一架一代短龍ADS30(FV7835)，於二零一一年十一月二十九日走畢其最後一個299的車程後便宣告退役。踏入二零一四年二月中，於一九九六年投入服務的第二代丹尼士巨龍亦開始有計劃退役，為了紀念作為車隊中最後的三加二座位設計巴士，屬於是批最後三架短龍(ADS143 - 145)獲九巴安排於二零一四年六月二十五日，行走80M從九龍塘開往穗禾苑的告別班次，隨於翌日退出載客車隊後，標誌著全線九巴車隊自此皆採用二加二座位設計。至於於一九九六年下旬投入服務的第三代短龍，亦自二零一四年十二月底開始，漸次從載客車隊中退役，當中最後一批第三代短龍於二零一五年二月下旬退役。
To promote air-conditioned bus service, a batch of 30 Dennis Dragon 9.9m air-con. buses was first introduced by KMB in 1993 and completed their Duple Metsec bodyworks locally. They shared same mechanical specification as their 11m variant, Cummins engine with Voith fully automatic transmission and powerful enough to drive the Nippon Denso air conditioning unit. After gradually registered since Aug., 1993, this batch of Baby Dragon were first deployed on urban routes like 2, 16 and 234X, cross-harbour routes 107, 108 and followed by route 92 serving Sai Kung and Eastern Harbour Tunnel route 606 for testing their performance. According to the operation experience, Baby Dragon not only can carry more passengers than single-decker buses but also a good maneuverability when working on narrow road. To go one step further, the Baby Dragon can upgrade the service standard of routes with high demand restricted by narrow road conditions by providing a higher capacity and air-conditioned service.
As the decommissioning of Leyland Victory Mk 2 and Dennis Jubilant, KMB introduced a total of 155 Baby Dragon powered by Euro 1 emission standard Cummins engine with two batches between 1995 and 1996 and soon strengthened the air-conditioned service network. As the first 30 samples, they were completed their Duple Metsec bodyworks locally and a newly designed Nippon Denso air conditioning unit was introduced. 3+2 seating arrangement still can be found in the second batch of Dennis Baby Dragon (ADS31-145) which was the last model in the fleet with such configuration. This batch of Baby Dragon was started to serve passengers from Feb., to Jul., 1996 and not only replaced the Victorys and Jubilants, but also took the place of Mitsubishi MK and Dennis Dart serving routes on 3B,15, 24K, 64K, 80M, 91, 282, 284 and 299 and resulted in a better service standard. The third batch Baby Dragon (ADS146-185) were commissioned between Dec., 1996 and Feb., 1997 and 2+2 seating arrangement with coach seats were introduced to provide a much comfortable journey. Routes used to serve by two-axle double deckers like 15A. 81M, 86A and 113 introduced air conditioned service with this batch of Baby Dragon as their relatively low carrying capacity. The Baby Dragon on route 113 also indicated air conditioned service was available on all cross-harbour routes. In addition, route 73K, 78K and 79K linking the boundaries and Sheung Shui were converted into full air conditioned operation by the third generation Baby Dragon in mid. of 1997.
In 1997, KMB placed an order for it fourth batch, also the last batch of 50 Baby Dragons (ADS186-235). It should be mentioned that after the Dominator had ceased production in 1996, a specific production line was set up to cater the demand from Hong Kong which this batch of the Baby Dragon was included. All these Baby Dragons were completed their bodyworks by Goodview in Zengcheng, Guangzhou and entered service since the early 1999 and soon take up the role of Dennis Jubilant played on routes 5C, 11C, 11K and 21 serving Eastern Kowloon as well as to introduce air conditioned bus to these services. Some of the batch was delivered to Tin Shui Wai new town for the operation of new service 264M until they were replaced by the brand new Volvo Olympian 11m. The fourth generation Baby Dragon was powered by a Cummins Euro 2 engine and featured with a lower handrail at the upper-deck windscreen and seat belts were also fitted on seats with hazard to enhance the safety of passengers. After the delivery of this batch of Baby Dragon, no more step-entranced bus was purchased and super low floor bus to be the standard of KMB.
Among the first generation Baby Dragon, some were fitted additional vent at both upper front and end but later was sealed. In Apr. 04, an unique compartment improvement works was carried out on ADS26 (FU1694), the original silver and green colored handrails were replaced by yellow colored one. Starting from 2000, as the commissioned of Dennis Trident 10.6m and increased in demand together with road improvements, some routes operated by Baby Dragon were then deployed with other bus model with higher carrying capacity or super low floor bus. The Baby Dragon then mainly either as reserve at different depot or serving routes with low demand or roads with limitation like 7B, 8, 10, 16M, 17, 18, 28, 31M, 34, 45, 54, 70, 77K and 81K etc. As requested by Transport Department, routes 63X, 72, 72A, 73A, 74A, 261 and 289K were deployed with buses fitted with seat belts and as their low patronage, fourth generation Baby Dragon was assigned on these routes.
ADS94 (GT7822) was the first Baby Dragon retired from KMB after involved in a accident in Sep. 2008 causing serious damage on chassis and delicensed in the following month. Another immature withdrawn Baby Dragon was ADS174 (HB691) which beyond repair during a serious accident in Nov., 2009 and written off in Mar., 2010. After 18 years of service, the first batch of Baby Dragon started to withdraw from service and ADS25(FU1098) was the first of the batch to be withdrawn in the end of Jan., 2011. The remaining first generation Baby Dragons were gradually withdrawn from service since mid. of 2011 with the last of the batch, ADS30(FV7835) retired after last day service on route 299 on 29, Nov., 2011. Since mid. of Feb., 2014, the second generation Baby Dragon commissioned in 1996 started to quit from revenue service. As mentioned in previous paragraph, this batch of Baby Dragon was the last type 3+2 seating arrangement in KMB, a farewell ceremony was held on 25 Jun., 2014 and the last three of the batch (ADS 143 - 145) were assigned on farewell departures on route 80M from Kowloon Tong to Sui Wo Court before their withdrawal on the following day. In the end of Dec., 2014, KMB started to dispose the third generation Baby Dragon which entered service since the end of 1996 and all of the batch were decommissioned by the end of Feb ., 2015.
The fourth generation Baby Dragon stayed in KMB fleet for two more years and gradually replaced by the brand new buses since Jan., 2017. During the later stage of their service, those stationed at Tuen Mun depot and Kowloon Bay depot (except ADS223/JC3752 which damaged in a traffic accident) were transferred to Lai Chi Kok depot. The last of the fleet, ADS235(JD4215) was retired after it final departure on route 8 heading to Kowloon Station departed from Star Ferry at 8 pm, 6 Jul., 2017 and marked the end of step-entranced bus serving in KMB. Both ADS143 (GV1553) and ADS235 were preserved as members of classic fleet which represent the history of the last 3+2 seatings and step-entranced bus in KMB respectively.
回到主頁 Back To Main