Discovery Bay Transportation Services Limited (DBTSL) has provided more details about the proposed bus service that has been suggested as a replacement for the overnight ferry between DB and Central.
The proposal, which received endorsement at the City Owners’ Committee meeting on Wednesday (October 24) to proceed to the next stage of the process, will now be passed to the Transport Department (TD) for consideration. The TD will then conduct a formal public consultation to collect the views of residents before a final decision can be reached.
Speaking to Around DB, a spokesperson for DBTSL said: “The idea originated from discussions in early August among members of the Passenger Liaison Group [a group made up of Village Owners’ Committe representatives], who believe that this alternative can provide a more frequent and accessible overnight transport service for residents at lower fares, while helping to reduce emissions from the under-utilised ferry and stabilise the ferry fare in the long run.
“The daytime ferry operation has been subsidising the serious loss-making night time operation. Current usage of the overnight ferry is much lower than capacity, with many sailings carrying less than 30 passengers, while some are empty. This means the sailings are not cost effective and not environmentally friendly, due to the much higher fuel consumption of the ferry.
“According to the estimation of the environmental consultant, greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by about 1,700 tonnes per year with implementation of the proposal. This would be equivalent to planting 70,000 trees.”
If the changes go ahead, the first sailings from Central to DB would be at 6.30am, while the last ferries would depart at 11.30pm on weekdays and 12 midnight at weekends (Friday and Saturday evenings).
From DB to Central, the first sailings would be at 6am, while the last sailings would leave at 11pm on weekdays and 11.30pm at weekends. Additional sailings would be added on special days such as New Year’s Eve.
In the absence of the ferries, double decker buses would travel from Central to DB at 11.55pm (Sunday to Thursday only), 12.20am, 12.45am, 1.10 am, 1.35am, 2am, 3am, 4am, 5am and 5.50am.
Buses from DB to Central would depart at 11.25pm (Sunday to Thursday only), 11.50pm, 12.15am, 12.45am, 1.10am, 2am, 3am, 4am and 5am.
On the DB-bound route, buses would start from Pier 3 and call at Connaught Road (near the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce), the Lantau Link Toll Plaza (for interchange with overnight bus routes from Kowloon and the New Territories), and the DB Tunnel Toll Plaza before then entering DB. In DB, they would call at DB North Plaza and a number of bus stops along Discovery Bay Road, terminating at Coastline Villas.
The Central-bound buses would follow the route in reverse, with an additional stop at the Macau ferry terminal.
The estimated journey time is 32 minutes from Central to DB North Plaza, and 43 minutes to Coastline Villas.
DBTSL estimates that around 70% of households would be covered by the routing of the overnight bus. They confirmed that connecting bus schedules for villages not directly along the route would be amended so that they were synchronised, and that connecting buses would wait in the case of delays.
Bus fares would be set at HK$42 for DB Resident Octopus card holders and HK$56 for visitors. The 11.25pm weekday service from DB to Central would cost less. Elderly fares would be capped at HK$2, and midnight ferry sailings on Friday and Saturday evenings would be charged at the standard daytime rate instead of the current overnight fare.
Addressing concerns raised by residents about the lack of toilet facilities on the buses, DBTSL said that Pier 3 would remain open throughout the night so that people could use the bathroom and the seating area, and that sick bags would be provided on the buses. In response to questions about safety, they said that buses would be fitted with a limiter, which would prevent them from travelling over 70mph.
The timeline for implementation of the proposal, if approved by the TD, is not yet known, however it is expected to take a few months for a decision to be made.Tags: transport, ferry, db central bus, central bus route, central bus schedule