NLB apologises over timetable fiasco but vows to pursue cuts

New Lantao Bus (NLB) has apologised over the chaos created by its misjudged attempt to cut services, but says it will continue to seek timetable changes.

The company angered local residents during several days of disarray this week when buses ran at irregular intervals after the new timetable was blocked.

The new schedule, due to take effect last Friday, was blocked by the Transport Department because it had not been approved.

NLB formally withdrew the changes but for the next four days buses ran at unpredictable times. Passengers were unable to get clear answers from NLB and the company’s website and mobile app contained little or no information.

In a statement on its website posted Wednesday the company said:

We apologize for any inconvenience caused by any discrepancies between the timetable and the actual departure times over recent days and would like to assure our passengers that such anomalies have now been rectified.

But it added that “it is essential that we effect reasonable bus service adjustments so as to allow the company to improve its current financial performance.”

It said the coronavirus outbreak had caused a 50% drop in passenger numbers and “a prolonged period of financial loss.”

The NLB’s proposed timetable eliminated the no.4 service between Tong Fuk and Mui Wo and slashed the no. 1 service between Tai O and Mui Wo and the no. 2 bus serving Ngong Ping. It made smaller changes to the 3M, 11 and 23 services.

NLB said it had applied to the Transport Department, but did not explain why it would not wait for approval before implementing the new schedule.

The bus company operates service under a licence from the Transport Department, which requires it to hold regular public consultations with passengers and to seek approval for any changes in schedules.

The company has not responded to Lantau News queries.

Local activists including Legco member Eddie Chu staged a protest at the Central government offices in Admiralty on Tuesday. They handed a petition to a Transport Department official.

They have called a public meeting for Friday evening at Mui Wo Ferry Pier to discuss the planned service cuts.

Eddie Tse, head of the Tai O Sustainable Development Education Workshop, said residents had been badly confused by the attempted timetable change.

“Even the station masters and drivers were not clear about the schedule,” he told Apple Daily.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: