城巴 City Bus

一九七九年,曾任中巴交通經理的李日新先生,與其他股東成立了Passenger Transportation (Asia) Limited,使用城巴作為公司品牌,以一架艾沙富豪B55雙層巴士,向聯合船塢提供員工接送服務。隨後,城巴購入多架來自英國的二手丹拿/利蘭Fleetline巴士,進一步擴展經營網絡,之後部份Fleetline巴士改作開蓬巴士,成為首家提供同類服務的營運商,並廣受大眾歡迎,時至今日,開蓬巴士租貨仍然是城巴其中一個主要業務。在巴士租貸以外,城巴亦積極發展屋村巴士業務,當中以沙田第一城及天水圍嘉湖山莊最為突出。城巴除了本地巴士服務,亦開拓中港跨境巴士服務,於一九八五年,首條穿梭深圳及香港的過境巴士線正式投入服務。

一九八七年,香港北海集團收購城巴股份,並成為城巴最大股東。憑藉強大的財政支援,城巴大舉投資購入空調雙層巴士,投入過境路線及屋村巴士服務,再一次在香港巴士史上開創先河。一九九一年,城巴開辦首條專利巴士路線12A,成為本港第四家專利巴士公司。一九九二年,政府就巿民不滿中巴服務投訴日增,作出一個重要的策略,把當中二十八條中巴路線公開競投,交由第三家經營者營運。城巴最後於同年九月二十九日,成功獲得政府批出專營權,於一九九三年九月一日開始營運有關路線,令服務網絡得以進一步擴展。

憑藉不斷創新及致力提供高質素及有效率的巴士服務,城巴獲得巿民好評,隨後當運輸處於一九九五年及九八年兩度削減中巴路線時,城巴都能夠獲得共二十六條路線經營權。一九九六年,兩架富豪B6LE巴士加入城巴,正式推出低地台巴士,令到傷健人士可以享受到更方便的公共交通服務。除了經營港島巴士路線,城巴於一九九七年中投得赤鱲角新機場往返巿區的巴士路線專營權,並以「城巴機場快線」作品牌,向每位旅客提供高水平的機場巴士服務。一九九八年,最後一架利蘭Atlantean AN68巴士退役,標誌著城巴成為首間提供全空調巴士服務的專利巴士公司。

值得一提是一九九零年,當時城巴母公司北海集團曾經購入英國Ensign Bus,並改名首都城巴,而首都城巴於一九九五年被公司管理層購入,隨後於一九九八年被另一英國巴士集團─第一集團收購,第一集團曾是城巴早年競爭對手新巴的母公司。一九九九年至二零零三年,城巴曾經成為英國三大巴士集團之一,Stagecoach的子公司,但到了二零零三年六月九日,由於對香港巴士服務經營前景不明朗,Stagecoach將城巴售予香港周大福集團,後者同時是新巴的持有者。

今日,城巴非專利業務規模已經不像從前,當中過境巴士服務已經於二零零一年停辦,但作為本港第二大專利巴士公司,城巴仍然積極創新,為本港巴士服務加入不少新元素,例如空調開蓬巴士,全球自動定位報站系統等。在測試新能源環保巴士方面,城巴先於二零一四年測試由亞歷山大丹尼士提供的E50H油電混能雙層巴士,再於二零一五年開始測試電動單層巴士。

Lyndon Rees, former Transport Manager of China Motor Bus, established Passenger Transportation (Asia) Limited with other shareholders in 1979. "City Buses" was used as the brand name and later simplified to "City Bus". City Bus story started with a Alisa Volvo B55 double decker and provided a shuttle service for the employees of Hong Kong dockyard. More second-hand Damlier/Leyland Fleetline were acquired from England to meet the need of the networks expansion. The open-top double decker hiring service welcomed by the public was started in 1981. City Bus successfully launched this service with two open-top Fleetlines and it is the pioneer of such service. Instead of bus hiring, City Bus also developed residential and cross-border bus service in 1980s. The residential service of City One Sha Tin and Kingswood Villas are the most successful.

The shares of City Bus were acquired by CNT Limited in 1987 and afterwards, City Bus largely invested in purchasing brand new air-con double decker with the financial support from CNT Limited. In 1991, a milestones of City Bus, it first franchised bus route 12A launched and City Bus become the fourth franchised bus operator in Hong Kong. As the public was not satisfied with the service of CMB, Transport Department tendered 28 bus routes from CMB and on 29, Sept., 1992, City Bus was awarded and started to provide service since 1, Sept., 1993.

City Bus then took over 14 and 12 routes from CMB in 1995 and 1998 respectively as it was well received with their innovative and served by heart service. City Bus first introduced 2 Volvo B6LEs in 1996 and started the era of super low floor bus service in Hong Kong. Besides the bus service on the Island, the networks of City Bus was further expanded in 1997 with "Cityflyer", a high-level airport bus service between the city and the Chek Lap Kok airport. After the retirement of last Leyland Atlantean AN68 in 1998, City Bus to be the first fully air-conditioned franchised bus operator.

City Bus further developed it business in UK, CNT Limited purchased Ensign Bus in 1990 and renamed as Capital Citybus. As there was support from banking, Capital Citybus then acquired by the managements in 1995 and finally become First Capital in 1998 when purchased by First Group, once the parent company of City Bus rival, NWFB. Stagecoach, one of the three leading bus group in UK, acquired City Bus in 1999. The ownership of City Bus changed again on 9, Jun., 2003, as uncertainty of bus industry in Hong Kong, Stagecoach sold all the City Bus shares to Chow Tai Fook Enterprise which was holding NWFB at that time.

The cross-border service of City Bus already ceased in 2001 while the market share of residential service not as the past, as the second largest franchised bus operator, City Bus still put a lot of new elements into bus operation. GPS bus stop announcement system and air-con open-top buses were first introduced to Hong Kong by City Bus.

City Bus actively in testing bus powered by altenative enerygy and first in 2014, received a pair of Alexander Dennis E50H hybrid double decker and in 2015, started to evaluate single decker driven by electric power.

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