on 26 February 1997
ITEM FOR ESTABLISHMENT SUBCOMMITTEE OF FINANCE COMMITTEE
HEAD 186 - TRANSPORT DEPARTMENT
Subhead 001 Salaries
Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the creation of the following permanent post in the Bus Development Branch of the Transport Department: -
1 Assistant Commissioner for Transport
(D2) ($102,900 - $109,250)
We need an officer at Assistant Commissioner for Transport (AC for T) (D2) level on a permanent basis to meet the increased complexity and volume of work of the Bus Development Branch (BDB) of the Transport Department (TD).
2. We propose to create one permanent AC for T (D2) post to head the BDB.
3. Following the approval of the Finance Committee in May 1994, we created a supernumerary AC for T post, designated as AC for T/Bus Development (AC/BD), to manage BDB. As head of BDB, AC/BD is responsible to the Deputy Commissioner for Transport (D3) for the planning and development of bus and tram services, and for the coordination of bus services with other public transport services, including rail services. The existing organisation charts of TD and BDB are at Enclosures 1A and 1B. The job description of AC/BD is at Enclosure 2.
4. Since the creation of the supernumerary AC/BD post in 1994, the planning and monitoring of bus services have grown in complexity as described in the following paragraphs.
Planning of bus services
5. Carrying about 3.8 million passengers daily, buses are still the predominant internal transport mode in the territory. The planning and maintenance of an efficient network of bus services is a continuous commitment and is of increasing importance to meet the growth in public demand for better bus services.
6. An important function of BDB, therefore, is to ensure that bus services are adequate to meet public expectation and suitably integrated in the transport mix to provide an effective and balanced public transport network. To achieve this objective, BDB must keep abreast of major road and rail developments that will have an impact on existing and future bus operation. The opening of the Western Harbour Crossing, for example, requires an appraisal of the existing cross harbour bus network and a re-organisation of existing routes to ensure that new demands are met. The commissioning of the Airport Railway and the Lantau Link will also affect existing bus services operating along the same corridor and will require adjustments to the bus network and the introduction of feeder services to the new railway stations. AC/BD has to direct the planning of services to meet these changes, and to ensure the implementation of all plans in a timely manner.
7. The construction of the three priority railway projects, namely, the Western Corridor Railway, the Mass Transit Railway Tseung Kwan O extension, and the Ma On Shan to Tai Wai rail link, coupled with an extension of the Kowloon Canton Railway from Hung Hom to Tsim Sha Tsui, would have longer term impact on the existing bus network. AC/BD would need to give direction for the strategic planning of bus and rail coordination.
Planning and development
8. Advanced technological developments in the public transport field, such as smart cards for fare collection, computerised passenger information display system, low-floor easy access features on vehicles, satellite tracking for fleet management, and environmental friendly bus engines, all have a significant impact on the operation and management of bus services. AC/BD has to keep abreast of such developments and must have a thorough understanding of their applications. He also needs to encourage public transport operators to make the best use of such technological developments for the benefits of commuters.
Award and monitoring of new franchises
9. AC/BD is responsible for planning and developing bus networks to meet passenger demand. He also makes recommendations for the award of new franchises through open tenders. Two such franchises have just been granted for the operation of bus services to new developments in north Lantau and the new airport at Chek Lap Kok. He now looks after five franchised bus operators who altogether operate six networks with 560 routes. routes on an exclusive basis. Route development proposals put forward by bus operators could duplicate or affect existing bus services operated by others. This has increased the responsibility of AC/BD in monitoring the performance, planning and development of the various bus operators. He needs to exercise sound professional judgment in balancing the conflicting interests of different operators, the demands of the travelling public and the need to maintain a healthy operating environment under which operators compete with each other fairly.
10. We will launch two new bus networks in 1997 and 1998 to tie in with the initial population intake of Tung Chung New Town and the commissioning of the new airport. BDB has to coordinate and liaise with the new operators, the Airport Authority, the Housing Authority and related Government departments to ensure that bus services are available for Tung Chung New Town and the new airport on schedule.been created since August 1996.
Review of performance of franchised bus operators
11. New bus franchises each with a franchise period of around 10 years now include the provision for a mid-term review on the performance of the franchisee. In this review the Administration will assess the overall performance of the operator, consider its capability and its long-term development strategies, and review the need for incorporation of new terms in the franchise to meet changing operational requirements. (NLB) contain a provision for a mid-term review. Citybus will have its mid-term review due in 2000 and NLB in 2001. In negotiating the new franchise for Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) in 1997 (see paragraph 12 below), we intend to include a similar provision for a mid-term review. AC/BD will be responsible for undertaking these mid-term reviews.
Franchise renewals for Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) and China Motor Bus (CMB)
12. Franchise renewal exercises are complex. They require a thorough assessment of the performance of the operator, an examination of the companys development strategies and plans, and a review on the terms and conditions of the franchise. The current franchises of the KMB and CMB will expire on 31 August 1997 and 31 August 1998 respectively. The renewal of KMBs franchise will be concluded within the first half of 1997, while negotiations with CMB on its franchise will take place between 1997 and 1998. As the head of the BDB, AC/BD will have a major role to play in dealing with the complex issues relating to the review and renewal of these bus franchises which involve careful strategic and tactical negotiations with franchised operators at the top management level.
Processing fare increase applications
13. Processing fare increase applications from the bus and tram companies is a regular exercise conducted almost annually. The public takes a great interest in these applications, which are becoming increasingly complex and politically sensitive. Intricate factors, such as the viability of the operators, public acceptability and competition among operators, have to be carefully and critically assessed. The importance and complexity of the issues will require an officer at AC for T level to give direction and steer to staff, to resolve conflicts, to negotiate effectively with transport operators at top management level and to consult the parties concerned, including the Legislative Council Transport Panel, Transport Advisory Committee (TAC) and sometimes District Boards.
Tramways Ordinance review
14. The Administration is reviewing the Tramways Ordinance, which was enacted in 1902, to bring this piece of legislation up-to-date to match the current operating environment. AC/BD needs to coordinate input on the review, to advise on additional terms and conditions that should be included to strengthen the provisions for the monitoring and control of tramways operation and to enhance the planning, development and improvement of tram services. This exercise calls for an officer at AC for T level who will give directions on the review and discuss them with the senior management of Hong Kong Tramways.
Review of directorate structure
15. Commissioner for Transport (C for T) has reviewed the directorate structure of the department and explored the possibility of rationalising the workload among the existing ACs for T. She has concluded that the other six ACs for T are all fully committed to their present duties and do not have the capacity to take on the work described above -
(a) the two regional ACs for T look after all traffic and public transport arrangements on Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and New Territories. With increasing interests of DBs in local transport issues, they have to spend more time and effort handling suggestions and complaints from DBs, explaining government policies to different community groups, and seeking their support in implementing traffic and transport improvement projects. They also have to provide technical support to the Transport Branch and the C for T in their presentations to TAC and the LegCo Transport Panel;
(b) the AC/Technical Services manages four engineering divisions to formulate traffic engineering design standards, to advise on traffic and transport surveys and district traffic studies, and to oversee the implementation of projects on area traffic control and traffic control/surveillance on expressways. He also manages the Headquarters (Computer Services) Unit and advises on office automation in the department;
(c) the AC/Management and Licensing monitors the performance of contractors operating and managing government carparks, parking meters, vehicle examination centres and tunnels. He is responsible for policies on the licensing of vehicles and drivers and he manages the licensing offices. He directs and monitors the operation and management of public and private vehicle examination centres, and implements and monitors performance pledges. He steers the preparation of management contracts and tenders for government transport facilities. In addition, he has taken on the new duties of planning, tendering and monitoring of the operator of the Tsing Ma Control Area;
(d) the supernumerary post of Government Engineer/ Port and Airport Development (GE/PAD) has been retained until 31 March 1998. He is responsible for co-ordinating and overseeing transport input to the projects arising from the Port and Airport Development Strategy (PADS) Studies. He monitors progress on Transport Department's activities related to the opening of the New Airport. GE/PAD has also taken on, in addition to his other duties, direction and co-ordination of traffic engineering input to the planning of the Western Corridor Railway and other railway projects. Workload in these areas is growing and will continue to be so in the coming several years; and
(e) the Assistant Commissioner/Ferry and Paratransit looks after ferries, taxis, PLBs, transport services for disabled people and emergency transport arrangements. She directs the evaluation of fare applications from the ferry companies, the taxi and GMB trades, and the evaluation of the ferry five year plans. She takes part in negotiations on ferry franchises. She chairs regular conferences with paratransit operators, i.e. urban taxi, New Territories taxi, Lantau taxi, green minibus and red minibus. She also oversees the monitoring and subvention of the Rehabus services and chairs a working group among disabled groups and transport operators to pursue transport improvements for disabled people. She is responsible for planning and tendering of new ferry routes and the selection of green minibus operators. Since 1994 her workload has increased substantially, both because of the development of new issues and the growing complexity of the issues generally.
C for T therefore proposes that the supernumerary post of AC/BD be made permanent.
16. The additional notional annual salary cost of this proposal at mid-point is $1,273,200. The full annual average staff cost of the proposal, including salaries and staff on-costs, is $2,354,328. We have included sufficient provision in the 1997-98 draft Estimates to meet the cost of this proposal. There are no other additional staffing and financial implications.
17. In May 1994, Finance Committee approved the re-organisation of the Public Transport Development Branch into BDB and the Ferry and Paratransit Branch, and the creation of a supernumerary AC for T post for a period of three years to head the BDB, subject to a review. C for T has completed the review and come to the view that the reorganisation has enabled TD to maintain the needed sensitivity and directions in the development of public transport services at the top management level, and that the AC for T post is required on a permanent basis to take charge of BDB.
CIVIL SERVICE BRANCH COMMENTS
18. Civil Service Branch considers the ranking and grading of the proposed post to be appropriate, having regard to the responsibilities and professional input required.
ADVICE OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON DIRECTORATE SALARIES AND CONDITIONS OF SERVICE
19. The Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service has advised that the grading proposed for the post would be appropriate if the post were to be created.
Enclosure 2 to EC(96-97)62
Main duties and responsibilities of the Assistant Commissioner for Transport/Bus Development
Rank : Assistant Commissioner for Transport (D2)
Accountable to : Deputy Commissioner for Transport (D3)
1. To make policy recommendations for the development and co-ordination of public bus services.
2. To direct the planning, monitoring and regulating of franchised bus (KMB, CMB, Citybus, Long Win and NLB) and tram (HKT) services including evaluation of bus and tram fare increase applications.
3. To consider, examine and make recommendations on corporate development strategies of franchised companies.
4. To direct plans for restructuring of current bus networks and to oversee implementation of such plans.
5. To conduct mid term reviews on existing bus franchises and make recommendations on the renewal or grant of new bus franchises.
6. To review and make recommendations on policy and planning aspects of the operation of non-franchised bus services and new public transport modes.
7. To direct and monitor the conduct of bus development and other related studies.
8. To consider and recommend new legislation or amendments to the Public Bus Services Ordinance, Tramways Ordinance and other relevant legislation such as the Road Traffic Ordinance and Regulations to bring them up-to-date with current policies requirements.
Last Updated on 12 August 1999