Volvo B9TL buses for Kowloon Motor Bus have been spotted undergoing assembly at Gemilang Coachworks.
Two units have been identified, bearing the Hong Kong operator’s City Red livery. One unit was last spotted in June 2017 in the same livery.
Kowloon Motor Bus (九龍巴士) is Hong Kong’s largest franchised bus operator and a major customer of the Volvo B9TL, with over 900 units in its fleet as of December 2017 and more undergoing delivery. Its latest specification of double-deck buses bears the City Red livery launched in June 2017, replacing its Champagne gold livery in use since 1997.
As part of the new corporate branding, buses are painted in Bright Red with styling elements in white and silver. The passenger compartment features seats and railings in warm and durable colours, along with subtly adjusted headrests, seatbacks and handrails that are better suited to provide comfort, ergonomic support and ease of passenger flow. These buses also provide free Wi-Fi and USB charging ports.
KMB considers Hong Kong’s roads as the city’s arteries and its own buses as the blood to keep it alive. The red colour is symbolic of the vitality of Hong Kong and an image of Hong Kong’s skyscrapers depicted on the roofs of the buses is matched with the slogan “Heartbeat of the City” (城市脈搏).
The Volvo B9TL buses are of the 12-metre, three-axle specification and currently being assembled by Gemilang Coachworks with what appears to be a in-house design. The company previously designed and bodied a one-off prototype Volvo B9TL for SBS Transit in 2014, registered as SBS7777Y. No further units were procured, and after two years on the roads, the bus was permanently relegated to Training Bus duties based at Hougang Depot.
KMB’s procurement of Gemilang-bodied Volvo B9TL buses represents a minority in its otherwise Wrightbus-dominated fleet of over 900 Volvo B9TL buses (as of December 2017). It owns a single Volgren-bodied demonstrator (fleet code AVD1) and 86 Enviro500-bodied buses (fleet code AVBE1 – AVBE86). Among the Wright-bodied buses, it owns 64 units bodied with the Wright Eclipse Gemini bodywork, and the remainder are bodied with the Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 bodywork.
Presently, KMB owns Volvo B9TL (Wright Eclipse Gemini II) and Alexander Dennis Enviro500 MMC (Facelift) buses to its new ‘Red bus’ specification. Both bus models made their revenue service debuts in June 2017 and September 2017 respectively, with more units on delivery.
KMB Volvo B9TL in June 2017:
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