KMB sees double: that's good news
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ONE MOTOR SHOW shopping list which must look good for British manufacturers is Kowloon Motor Bus Company's reports NOEL MILLIER.
Lawrence Louey, general manager of the Hong Kong company, and his purchasing manager Humberto Wu signed orders for 406 new double-deck buses, which included 200 frontengined Dennis Jubilant chassis and 200 front-engined Leyland Victory chassis all powered by Gardner 6XLB engines coupled to Voith D851 gearboxes.
The chassis will be bodied by kits supplied by British manufacturers for local assembly. Duple (Metsec) Ltd is supplying 150 of the body kits for Dennis chassis, and Walter Alexander (Coachbuilders) Ltd 250 kits for the remaining 50 Dennis and 200 Leyland Victories.
In addition, Hestair Dennis, in conjunction with Kowloon Motor Bus, have developed a 12m version of the rear-engined Dominator chassis.
Three of the new chassis have been ordered with built up Alexander bodies. They will seat about 142 passengers and operate at about 20 ton gvw. A third axle will be fitted immediately ahead of the powered axle.
Three 18ft 6in wheelbase Leyland Olympian chassis, which will be fitted with Eastern Coachwork bodies, have also been ordered for evaluation purposes.
These vehicles will be fitted with Leyland TL11 engines coupled to Leyland's Hydracyclic gearbox.
Lawrence Louey told CM that KMB still needs new buses both for its expansion programme and to replace older buses. The fleet includes many Daimler Fleetlines which are now achieving 80 per cent availability so KMB has ordered a further 100 ex-London Transport Fleetlines from Ensign Bus Co which will be expected to clock up between five to six years service in Hong Kong. KMB's manager is particularly keen to buy more threeaxle 12m deckers to cope with high passenger loadings. A decline in passenger loads following the opening of the Mass Transit Railway has now been halted and negotiations are also taking place to investigate the possibility of bus services into neighbouring Chinese provinces.
KMB is also experimenting with a fully air-conditioned double-deck Dennis Jubilant which is soon to be joined by a Leyland Victory and is proving popular with passengers.
With a premium on road space in Hong Kong, the double-deck bus is seen as the only type of high-capacity psv suitable for operating there.
Other areas in South-east Asia are also seeing the doubledecker as the answer to their transport needs. New decker fleets are already in service in Singapore, and Jakarta, in Indonesia, will soon have a fleet of 108 Metsec-bodied Leyland Atlanteans and 100 British Ailsa Alexander-bodied vehicles.
Leyland and Alexander are also currently supplying the first double-deck buses to operate in Manila in the Philippines.