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Sunday, 15 August 2010

Something I saw today triggered a story

Today's Brislington vehicle get-together was of course full of green buses from the former Bristol Omnibus and other Tilling companies of the area.

One surprise for me was former Citybus Hong Kong 105 which represented the huge challenge mounted by Citybus to deliver high-quality, air-conditioned buses into Hong Kong whilst the resident franchised operator China Motor Bus continued to rely on older and more primitive types.

Bus operation in Hong Kong was franchised, as as an unfranchised operator Citybus ran vehicles like these on routes such as the 62R depicted here which were innovative services from outlying residential areas to demonstrate what good quality could look like. Some inbound services in the morning even had complimentary breakfast provided.

Of course as is well known, under the hugely-influential leadership of Lyndon Rees, Citybus eventually won its first franchised service in Hong Kong, and then was awarded 26 more routes as its strategy to bring modern and comfortable buses into general service became increasingly important politically.

It was in these interesting times between 1990 and 1995 that my Capital Citybus business in London was owned by the same parent - CNT Holdings - and so there was much interchange at the time - ideas, some personnel, and so on.

I don't do the interesting era of British-led bus development in Hong Kong, and Chinese-owned bus operation in London any justice in these few words. They were exciting times and Lyndon Rees single-handedly brought Hong Kong's bus services into the 20th Century (with just a few years to go as it happened!). As I write he is enjoying a happy retirement.

I know people tell me they like previously unseen photos on this blog so, as well as the first published picture anywhere of today's event at Brislington, I am also pleased to show sister Olympian 166 when at Dagenham prior to trial service on our routes 123 and 248 in London, and Selkent's route 180 as well.

Route 62R also became famous in London when the Sunday Times Magazine ran a feature on the CNT Holdings acquisition of my business. We prepared RM429 with 62R blinds and it appeared on the cover of the Magazine. Here we are in Parliament Square with the photographer making preparations.



  1. And here is the Citybus Olympian in service on route 123 at Seven Sisters - I'm assuming it's the same vehicle even though the fleet numbers differ.

    1. They are not the same.
      The smaller 5th window of 331 tells its a 12m. 166 is 11m.