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Night bus in Hong Kong

A night bus service or owl service is a public transport bus service which operates through the night time hours. Many cities operate such services, in substitution for either ordinary daytime bus services or metro/subway rail services which may shut for maintenance or through lack of passenger volumes at night. 24 hour rapid transit operation is practiced in some cities. Night bus service is much more limited in geographic coverage than daytime services, there are usually fewer lines and routes may run over entirely different paths to daytime services, or the night bus terminus may be in a different place. Some networks may run longer routes than daytime services, which may use interchanges to reach the same outlying districts. Night services may also run less frequently. The difference in services may be prefixed with an "N" for Night bus, or otherwise specially branded compared to the daytime services. Some night services may be provided by virtue of operating some routes as 24-hour services. Night Owl Routes may run more frequently than their daytime counterparts. Some cities apply a different night bus fare structure to the daytime services. Some services may allow users to alight at a requested place of stopping rather than at specific bus stops in deference to passenger concerns about safely walking long distances.

The night bus in literature

  • The London night bus was the inspiration for J. K. Rowling's Knight Bus.
  • Chicago Surface Lines Owl Service was part of the inspiration for Carl Sandburg's "Old Woman" (1916). "The owl-car clatters along, dogged by the echo..." He also refers to Owl Service in "Blue Island Intersection" (1922). "The owl car blutters along in a sleep-walk." A further reference is found in "Nights Nothings Again" (1922). "A taxi whizzes by, an owl car clutters, passengers yawn reading street signs..."


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