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New World First Bus Services Limited (Chinese: 新世界第一巴士服務有限公司), abbreviated as First Bus and "NWFB", is the third largest public bus operator in Hong Kong.

NWFB was established in 1998, taking over China Motor Bus's franchise on 1 September 1998 to provide bus services on Hong Kong Island together with Citybus. The company is wholly owned by Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and NWS Holdings, which together also own the second largest operator, Citybus.[1]

New World First Bus mainly serves Hong Kong Island, South Tseung Kwan O and the newly developed areas in west Kowloon. It also provides cross-harbour routes linking Hong Kong Island and Kowloon or the New Territories.[2]

The company currently possesses just below 700 buses and operates just below 100 franchised routes. It has a patronage figure of 180 million every year. Since 18 August 2002, the entire bus fleet is air-conditioned (with the exception of one open-top bus until January 2008). All buses are equipped with the Octopus smart card payment system. Near 80% of the buses are Super Low Floor.[3]



Before NWFB started its operation, the franchised bus service in Hong Kong Island was provided by 2 companies, China Motor Bus (CMB) (franchisee since 1933) and Citybus (franchisee since 1991). In the early 1990s, the service of the CMB was in a steady decline. Therefore, the Government started to introduce new competitors by transferring the franchise of CMB routes to other companies.

As a result, Citybus became the 2nd franchisee of the bus service on Hong Kong Island. Over 40 routes were transferred between 1991 and 1995.[4][5](See the history part of Citybus for more details).

In spite of the loss of many profitable routes, the service of China Motor Bus did not show any significant improvement. On the contrary, CMB began to focus on its profitable real estate business. At the same time, negotiations between CMB and the Government on service improvements failed.

Finally, on 17 February 1998, the Government withdrew the franchise of all 140 routes operated by China Motor Bus, with effect from 1 September 1998. 88 of the 140 routes were placed on open tender, 12 routes were transferred directly to Citybus, 1 cross-harbour route to Kowloon Motor Bus, and the remaining routes were cancelled.

Back then, a joint venture called New World First Holdings, was established to bid on the tender. The company was owned by the New World Development) with 74% stake. In total 6 companies placed bids for the tender, those included:

  • New World First Holdings (0659)
  • 0062)
  • Hong Kong United Bus Limited
    • Citybus Group (35%)
    • 1038) (35%)
    • 0308) (25%)
    • CNT Group (0701) (5%)
  • Affluent Dragon Island Limited
  • Hong Kong Public Bus Co. Ltd.
    • 0267)(70%)
    • 0306) (30%)
  • Argos Bus

New World First Holdings was considered a dark horse as it was the only bidder with no local bus operation experience. However, New World First Holdings eventually won the franchise on 31 March 1998 with promises of new facilities, improved service standards and employment of CMB staff.[6]

Handover from China Motor Bus

During the handover in mid-1998, NWFB faced a lot of difficulties since China Motor Bus was reluctant to cooperate with New World First Bus. After transport chaos when the old Hong Kong International Airport was moved to Chek Lap Kok on 6 July 1998, the Government and public were concerned about the handover of CMB on 1 September that year.

Eventually NWFB started its operation successfully at midnight 1 September 1998 after a series of negotiations and help from the Government. The official maiden departure of NWFB took place at 00:15 that night on Route N8,[7] with the first new bus in the fleet (Fleet No. 1001). However, NWFB had already started its operation of other non-overnight routes at midnight as CMB refused to operate after that time.

On its first day of operation, around 50 new buses were put into service. The remaining buses put in service are former CMB buses, with the New World First Bus logo stuck over the CMB logos and blue patches over the CMB corporate flag.

Bus refurbishment

Having purchased large numbers of second-hand buses from China Motor Bus, New World First Bus started an extensive program to refurbish them.[8] The floor, handrails, lighting system and seating layout were all upgraded from CMB-era designs to what they are today. The seating arrangement of buses were slightly modified. A typical refurbished bus accommodates 10 fewer passengers than one before refurbishment.

Air pollution problems were also addressed in the refurbishment program. When the buses were first acquired, none of them had catalytic converters installed. Now, they have been installed, reducing emission of polluting exhaust gases and particulates by 50%.

Another initiative was to phase out non air-conditioned buses from its fleet.[9] On 17 August 2002, NWFB's last non air-conditioned bus, the Dennis Condor served its final journey. From then on, all buses in the NWFB fleet are air-conditioned.

Entering China's market

In 2004, it expanded its service to Kunming in Yunnan by setting up the joint venture Kunming New World First bus with the Kunming Government.[10] NWFB (China) is the major shareholder, holding 51% of share.

Cooperation with Citybus

In June 2003, Citybus was acquired by NWS Holdings, the parent company of New World First Bus. As a result, the bus service of Hong Kong Island was once again under control of a single organisation.

Before the acquisition, many of the two companies' competing routes overlap each other. In order to make better use of company resources, many routes were reshuffled. Redundant routes were cancelled, and Octopus Card bus-bus interchange discounts were introduced between routes of both companies.[11]

Bus fleet

Double-deck air-conditioned buses (Acquired new)

    • With Alexander ALX500 body
      • 202 * 12 metres (Originally 211 - fleet number 1001-1190 & 1201-1221, 9 of them - (1201–1209) were sold to Citybus in December 2003)
      • 24 * 11.3 metres (Originally 30 - fleet number 1401-1430, 6 of them (1416–1421) were sold to KCRC in August 2005)
      • 15 * 10.6 metres (Originally 62 - fleet number 1601-1662, 47 of them were sold to KCRC between December 2004 and August 2005)
    • With Duple Metsec DM5000
      • 62 * 12 metres (Fleet number 3001-3062)
      • 60 * 10.3 metres (Low-height, fleet number 3301-3360)
      • 1 * 10.6 metres (Fleet number 3601)
    • 103 * 12 metres (Fleet number 5001-5103)

    • 30 * 12 metres (Fleet number 6001-6030)
    • 83 * 12 metres (Fleet number 5500-5582)
    • 40 * 11.3 metres (Fleet number 4000-4039)

Single-deck air-conditioned Buses (Acquired new)

    • 12 * 10.7 metres (Originally 42 - fleet number 2001-2042, 20 of them were sold to UK in 2001, 10 of them were sold to Kowloon Motor Bus in 2003)
    • 2001-2042 had Allison AT.545 gearbox and Cummins 6BT,B145.20 engine.
    • 24 * 10.1 metres (Originally 34 - fleet number 2061-2094, 2066-2075 were sold to UK between 1999 and 2000)
    • 2061-2094 had Allison AT.545 gearbox and Cummins 6BT,B145.20 engine.

Double-deck air-conditioned buses (Second-hand)

  • Bought from China Motor Bus (CMB)
    • 76 * 11 metres Dennis Condor with Duple Metsec body (Originally 92 - fleet number DA1-DA92, 16 of them were sold to Dubai/UK/South East Asia between 2004 and 2006). DA66 was converted into an open top bus for route 15C in 2008.
    • 62 * 11 metres Volvo Olympian with Alexander R-type body (Fleet number VA1-VA61, VA63) (VA62 & VA64 were retained by CMB and were sold to Citybus in 2002)
    • 25 * 11 metres Leyland Olympian with Alexander R-type body (Fleet number LA1-LA25) (All retired from active service as of 2010, some had their seats removed on the upper deck and used as training buses)
  • Bought from Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (HACTL)

Bus routes

When the Government decided to terminate China Motor Bus' franchise on its bus routes, New World First Bus acquired 88 routes. Other routes were handed over to Citybus and Kowloon Motor Bus. New World First Bus now also operates bus routes in the New Kowloon Development Area and Tseung Kwan O. On the bus stop signs, different types of routes are distinguished by different colors.

See List of bus routes in Hong Kong for the complete route list.

Hong Kong Island routes

Colour codes

  • Standard routes and urban express routes are denoted in purple.
  • Night routes are denoted in yellow numbers in black background.

Route numbering pattern

The numbering of bus routes follow a logical pattern.

  • Routes beginning with 1 terminate within the Central-Western District or Wan Chai District (except for 14, operating between Grand Promenade and Stanley Fort)
  • Bus routes beginning with 2 all terminate in the eastern part of Hong Kong Island between Causeway Bay and Shau Kei Wan.
  • Routes beginning with 3 terminate in Pok Fu Lam area (Chi Fu, Mount Davis & Pokfield Road).
  • Routes beginning with 4 and 7 terminate in southwest Hong Kong Island (Cyberport, Wah Fu, Tin Wan, Aberdeen, Wong Chuk Hang).
  • Routes beginning with 6 all terminate in Stanley.
  • Routes beginning with 8 terminate in Chai Wan (including Siu Sai Wan).
  • Route 9 operates between Shau Kei Wan and Shek O.
  • Routes 90 thru 99 terminate in Ap Lei Chau.
  • Triple digit routes beginning with 5 used to be fully air-conditioned routes, but now have no significant meaning.
  • Triple digit routes beginning with 7 are Island Eastern Corridor Express routes or non-Hong Kong Island bus routes operated exclusively by NWFB.

Cross Harbour Tunnel routes

Colour codes

Route operations

Most of these routes are jointly operated with Kowloon Motor Bus, but routes 680A, 682, 682P, 694, 970, 970X and 971 are solely operated by New World First Bus. For the jointly-operated routes, NWFB is responsible for all bus stop facilities in Hong Kong Island.

Numbering system

All Cross Harbour Tunnel Routes have 3 digit numbers.

  • Route numbers beginning with 1 go through the Cross Harbour Tunnel.
  • Routes beginning with 3 are morning peak hour express routes.
  • Routes beginning with 6 travel through the Eastern Harbour Tunnel.
  • Routes beginning with 8 are shuttle buses that travel from the Shatin Racecourse.
  • Routes beginning with 9 travel through the Western Harbour Tunnel.

Kowloon and New Territories routes

Colour codes

  • Standard routes and urban express routes are denoted in purple.
  • Night routes are denoted in yellow numbers in black background.

Route numbering pattern

The same colour codes as those on Hong Kong Island apply for NWFB's Kowloon and New Territories Network. To distinguish NWFB routes from Kowloon Motor Bus routes, each route's number has 3 digits and all begin with 7.

Fare scheme

All passengers on New World First Bus are required to pay the exact fare upon getting on the bus. The bus fare can be paid by cash or by Octopus Card. Children and Senior Citizens (people aged 65 or older) pay a Concessionary Fare, which is half of the full fare.

Sectional fare

Sectional fares apply to some of the longer routes. If a passenger gets on the bus after a specified stop that situates further away from the start of the route, he/she may pay less. Furthermore, passengers of routes 14, 15 and N8P may also pay less if they do not wish to travel the entire length of the route.

The rebate can be accessed by Octopus Card or cash.

To enjoy the rebate using an Octopus Card, the passenger has to place his Octopus Card on the reader twice in the entire journey, once when he/she boards and once when he alights. The rebate will then be added to the stored value of his Octopus Card. For instance, if a passenger takes route 15 from the Peak, and alights at Wan Chai Gap, he/she will only pay $6.80 rather than the full fare of $9.20 when he/she uses his Octopus Card.[12]

Apart from that, the passenger can place the sectional fare into the farebox. However, this is permitted at the discretion of the driver.

Bus-bus Interchange Scheme

Ever since Citybus was acquired by NWFB's parent company, NWS Holdings introduced the Bus-bus Interchange Scheme to encourage passengers to change buses. Not only does this allow the passenger to save money, it also allows redundant routes to be cancelled.

The scheme is only available to users of Octopus Cards. When a commuter pays with an Octopus Card, the record of the bus route will be stored in the card. Then, as he boards any bus route supported by the scheme to continue his journey, a discounted fare will be deducted from his Octopus card, rather than the full fare.

For example, if a passenger boards route 23, and changes to route 23A in the Admiralty Gardens, he will not be charged any fare when he boards the 23A, as long as both journeys were paid for by Octopus Cards.[13]

Same Day Return

In early 2005, Citybus and New World First Bus jointly introduced Same Day Return Fares. The fare is available for their solely operated Cross Harbour routes with bus fares exceeding $15 and for NWFB's Kowloon and New Territories network.

In Mid-2006, the Same Day Return Fare was extended to all Cross-Harbour routes with fares over $10, regardless of the operator. Routes with fares between $10 and $14.90 enjoy a 10% discount on the return trip, while routes exceeding $15 enjoy a 20% discount on the return trip.[14]

As long as the passenger uses the same Octopus Card on both of his journeys, the discounted fare will be automatically deducted from his octopus card in the second journey.

For example, the single journey fare for route 682 is $18.20, hence the passenger will be charged only $16.40 on his second journey if he uses an Octopus Card.

Value Pack

To encourage people to go sightseeing on NWFB buses, a Value Pack[15] has been set up for the following 3 sets of routes:

From Central/North Point to Stanley:

  • 63, 65, 66

From Stanley to Sai Wan Ho:

  • 14

From Sai Wan Ho to Central:

  • 2X, 720, 720A, 720P

The passenger is encouraged to travel around Hong Kong Island either in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction starting at Central or North Point, stopping at Stanley on the way. As long as he uses an Octopus Card and takes the bus in the correct sequence of routes, he will receive a $1 interchange discount on the 2nd and 3rd rides.

Bus amenities and services

Onboard television

In most buses, there are television screens installed on both the lower and upper saloon, known as FirsTVsion. They provide various entertainment programs, programs of Radio Television Hong Kong, as well as some advertisements. The television on NWFB was once operated by a Star East's (now See Corporation) subsidiary called M-Channel, and later it turned to be operated by NWFB's sister company and named the TV FirstVision. In 2005, RoadShow acquired FirstVision and started to broadcast their own programs on NWFB since early 2006.

Next stop indication and sight explanations

On routes like 15, a public address system has been installed on the bus, which tells the passengers where the next stop is. When the bus passes through certain sightseeing points, the PA system will also give a brief introduction of the sights. (e.g. Causeway Bay) Also, all Rickshaw Sightseeing buses (VA51-VA55) are fitted with PA systems.


  • New World First Bus Heng Fa Chuen Depot (Chai Wan) 2002 - Shueng On Street and Sheung Mau Street (multi-storey bus depot)
  • Wong Chuk Hang Depot - ex-CMB depot at Ocean Park Road (open air bus depot)
  • Siu Ho Wan Depot and Shing Tai Depot 1999

Rival transit operators

See also


External links

  • New World First Bus and Citybus Official Website
  • Kunming New World First Bus Official Website
  • Bus Fan World
  • English site for NWFB buses
  • New World First Bus Enviro500 12m Euro V Information
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