Kowloon Motor Bus: Wikis


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"KMB" redirects here. For the record label, see KMB Jazz.
Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB)
Parent Transport International Holdings Limited
Founded 13 April 1933 [1]
Headquarters Lai Chi Kok, Kowloon
Locale Hong Kong
Routes 399
Daily ridership 2.7 million[2]
Web site www.kmb.hk/

The Kowloon Motor Bus Company (1933) Limited (KMB; Chinese: 九龍巴士(一九三三)有限公司), a company of the Transport International Holdings Limited, is the largest franchised bus operators in Hong Kong, and one of the largest privately owned public bus operators in the world. For its franchised service in Hong Kong, KMB operates a fleet consisting of about 4,000 buses on 399 routes and employs a staff of over 12,000.



KMB operated the world's first air conditioned double-decker bus

KMB was founded on 13 April 1933 as a result of the reformation of public transport by the Hong Kong Government. Before the reformation, there were several independent bus operators working on both sides of the Victoria Harbour.

The KMB franchise allowed for the operation of public omnibus service on the Kowloon side, as well as the New Territories. By 11 June 1933, KMB had a fleet of 106 single deck buses.

The founding members of KMB were:

  • Sir Tang Shiu-kin (鄧肇堅)
  • William Louey Sui Tak (雷瑞德)
  • Lui Leung (雷亮)
  • Tam Woon Tong (譚煥堂)
  • Lam Ming Fan (林明勳)

By 1940, KMB had 140 single-deckers operating on 17 routes. After World War II, only a handful of buses survived, and therefore some lorries were converted into buses.

By the late 1940s, KMB ridership increased with the huge influx of immigration after the war. In 1949, KMB bought 20 Daimler double-deckers from England, becoming the first operator to operate double-deckers in Hong Kong.

Following the opening of the Cross Harbour Tunnel in 1972, a number of cross harbour routes was jointly operated by KMB with China Motor Bus, the sole bus operator on Hong Kong Island. With the tunnels, KMB service expanded from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island. At the same time, KMB experimented with buses operating without fare collector (also referred to as One Man Operated).

In 1975, the first air-conditioned bus in Hong Kong was put into service by KMB. Following the testing of the double-decked air-conditioned bus in early 1980s (Victory and Jubilant), KMB became the world's first air-conditioned double-decker operator. Today 95.1 per cent of KMB bus fleet is air-conditioned.

In 1996, KMB formed a subsidiary named Long Win Bus Company on Lantau Link with service to the new Hong Kong International Airport and Tung Chung.

Starting from 1998, KMB extended her network into mainland China when a co-operative joint venture - Dalian Hong Kong Macau Company Limited, started its operation.

In 1999, KMB started to operate some of the KCR Feeder Bus (now MTR Feeder Bus) routes, which are complimentary free services of the East Rail Line (previously KCR East Rail).


KMB is the first franchised bus company in Hong Kong that achieved the following:

  • Air-conditioning franchised bus service (early 1975)
  • First super-low-floor easy access(SLF) double deckers in the world (1998)
  • ISO 9001:1994 certification (1999)
  • ISO 9001:2000 certification (2002)
  • ISO 14001 certification (2001 & 2003)
  • Hong Kong Green Mark Certification (2007)


A passenger pays fare by either cash (no change given) or an Octopus card, a smart card fare collection system used in Hong Kong. Discounts apply for Octopus users on specified interchange combinations.[3] Generally, the bus fare decreases as the passenger boards the bus at stops closer to the end of the route.


Response to the railway merger

In response to the railway merger of Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR) and Mass Transit Railway (MTR), KMB launched a major interchange fare reduction scheme.[4]


Newer and quieter Euro IV in Hong Kong owned by KMB (built by Scania)

In December 2008, Kowloon Motor Bus has a fleet of 3,933 buses with 3,805 double-deckers and most than 95% of the double-deck fleet is air-conditioned. All of the buses comply with Euro emission standards, making KMB the largest environment-friendly bus operator in Hong Kong.

The KMB Fleet is allocated and spread across four major depots across Kowloon and the New Territories and is identified by letter (either K, L, S or U). These letters are placed on the bottom left of the driver's windscreen, although some of the buses in the fleet still have the letter placed under the windscreen.


KMB buses are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. Newer buses, like the Enviro500, have coloured CCTV cameras installed whereas older buses use a mirror. Bus stop announcement systems installed in every bus informs passengers of the next stop. LCD TVs with programs are also available on most air-conditioned buses. These programs are provided by RoadShow.


KMB routes are mainly concentrated on Kowloon and in the New Territories, and these routes are served solely by KMB. It also operates cross-harbour tunnel routes in cooperation with two other Hong Kong bus operators, New World First Bus and Citybus.

KMB currently operates 399 routes in Hong Kong. See list of bus routes in Hong Kong for details.

Route numbering system

Route numbers consist of a number, optionally preceded by or followed by a letter. If the number has one or two digits, the following numbering scheme is observed:

Routes Service areas
1-29 Urban Kowloon
30-39 Tsuen Wan and Kwai Chung
40-49 Tsing Yi and Sha Tin to Tsuen Wan
50-69 Tuen Mun, Yuen Long, Tin Shui Wai
70-79 Tai Po, Sheung Shui, Fanling
80-89 Sha Tin
90-99 Tseung Kwan O and Sai Kung

If the number has three digits, the first digit signifies the service, and the remaining two digits follow the above numbering scheme except as indicated:

Prefix Service Exceptions to numbering scheme
1 (1xx) Cross-harbour routes via the Cross-Harbour Tunnel. All 100s series routes are written in white on red. Routes 170 and 171: the digit 7 follows the numbering scheme on the Hong Kong Island for service to the Wah Fu area.
2 (2xx) Routes using air-conditioned buses only  
3 (3xx) Special cross-harbour tunnel routes, service during morning and/or evening rush hours only 307 is an exception, where originally it was a rush-hour only route, but currently serving as normal timetable
6 (6xx) Cross-harbour routes via the Eastern Harbour Crossing.
8 (8xx) Routes serving the Sha Tin Racecourse on horse racing days.  
9 (9xx) Cross-harbour routes via the Western Harbour Crossing.  

On buses with printed plaques and at bus stops, routes are displayed in white on black, with the exception of 1xx and 6xx routes that are in white on red, and 9xx in white on green. On buses with dot-matrix displays, the dots are always in yellow and thus the route number and destination are displayed in yellow on brown/black.

The trailing letter carries additional information about the route:

Letter Meaning
A through F Sometimes they designate parallel routes with different destinations, like 1 vs 1A and 6 vs 6A, but more often they are unique identifiers, like 2, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F -- there is hardly any overlap in these routes
K Route with a KCR (now MTR East Rail Line and West Rail Line) station as the destination
M Routes with an MTR station as the destination
P Routes that have limited hours or days of service, with exceptions of KMB 8P, 276P and NWFB 8P, where it serves as normal timetable
R Recreational routes
S Special routes
X Express routes

The leading letter N indicates that the route is an overnight route.

Route numbers 1-99 and 2xx used by KMB can also be used by Citybus or New World First Bus for routes on the Hong Kong Island, or by the New Lantau Bus on the Lantau Island. The rest of the routes are unique within Hong Kong.

KMB has no 5xx (Hong Kong Island, special service), 7xx (Express bus using the Island Corridor), or Axx or Exx (service to the airport). KMB does not use Mxx to designate buses serving an Airport Express station.

Football team

Kowloon Motor Bus also had a defunct Hong Kong football club Kowloon Motor Bus Co.. It was formed in 1947 and joined Hong Kong First Division League in 1947-48 season. Nicknamed "Atomic Bus", the team obtained the only two league titles in 1953-54 and 1966-67. The team attained its peak in the 1950s and 1960s when the "South China - Kowloon Motor Bus Co. crash" (南巴大戰) was one of the highlighted rival matches in Hong Kong. In 1970-71, the team faced their first relegation, but was able to stay in the First Division as Jardines quit the league in the following season. However, the team still got relegated 2 years later in 1972-73. It made its last First Division League appearance in 1976-77 when they relegated immediately after being newly promoted. In 1981, the football team quit the league.


See also




  • 香港足球總會九十週年紀念特刊

External links


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