Citybus (Hong Kong)

Citybus Limited (Chinese: 城巴有限公司) is one of the three major bus operators in Hong Kong. It provides both franchised and non-franchised bus service. The franchised route network serves mainly Hong Kong Island, cross-harbour routes (between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon/New Territories), North Lantau (Tung Chung and Hong Kong Disneyland) and Hong Kong International Airport. The non-franchised routes serve mainly City One Sha Tin. It also provides bus rental services and staff bus services for some large companies such as TVB and China Light and Power.

ParentNWS Holdings
Founded5 August 1979
HeadquartersChai Wan
Service typeBus services
AllianceNew World First Bus
Routes108 (2015)
DepotsChai Wan[1]
Siu Ho Wan
Fleet981 (2015)
Daily ridership647,500 (2014 average)[2]
Annual ridership236,349,000 (2014)[3]
Chief executiveSamuel Cheng (managing director)

The company is wholly owned by NWS Holdings, who also owns the third largest operator, New World First Bus.[4]

From 1984 to 2001 the company offered a cross-border service between Hong Kong and China using mainly Leyland Olympians, but this was discontinued due to stiff competition. However, in 2007, Citybus began operating route B3, which goes to Shenzhen Bay Port.


Citybus was founded on 5 August 1979 by former China Motor Bus employee Lyndon Rees with one Volvo B55 double deck bus, providing a shuttle service for the Hong Kong United Dockyard in Hung Hom. In 1981 it commenced operating a residential bus route between City One Shatin and Kowloon Tong MTR station.[5] In 1982, the United Transport group purchased a 49% shareholding.[6][7]

In 1984, Citybus began a cross-boundary coach service between Hong Kong and Shenzhen with ex National Trabel West and West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive Eastern Coach Works bodied Leyland Olympians. In 1985, the company introduced five air-conditioned Olympian coaches. Since then it has continued to expand its fleet of air-conditioned buses.[7]

In the late 1980s, Citybus was purchased by Tsui Tsin-tong's CNT Group. It commenced operating residential bus services with 100 new Olympians linking housing estates to MTR stations.[7]

In December 1990, Citybus launched Capital Citybus in London with an all-yellow livery for the routes in North and East London and a red and yellow livery for central London.[8][9] This was sold to FirstGroup in July 1998 and renamed First Capital.[10][11][12]

In 1991, the Hong Kong Government awarded Citybus its first franchised route, 12A (Admiralty Tamar Street to Macdonnell Road) on Hong Kong Island, which was originally operated by China Motor Bus and then withdrawn in the 1980s.[7]

In September 1993 Citybus took over 26 franchised routes from China Motor Bus after winning a competitive tender. These were branded as Network 26. To operate these a fleet of 101 Leyland Atlanteans was purchased from Singapore Bus Service. A further 14 franchised routes were awarded to the company in 1995 without tendering, with the fleet now expanded to more than 500 buses. During these years Citybus expanded its penetration of the Hong Kong Island market pushing nearly all China Motor Bus routes into low profitability.[5][7]

In 1996, with the Tsing Ma Bridge coming into operation and commencement of settlement in the Tung Chung new town, Citybus won another tender to operate 13 new franchised routes serving Tung Chung and the new Hong Kong International Airport. In 1998 the airport Cityflyer service commenced, which is part of Citybus and is solely used for Airport express routes to the city. The Cityflyer service consisted of a series of four routes: A11, A12, A21 and A22, with A10 being added in 2006. Citybus also operates various Overnight Airport routes and Airport Shuttle Routes.[5]

In 1998, following the expiry of the franchise of China Motor Bus, a further 12 routes were transferred to Citybus. Citybus's fleet was up to 1,100 buses.[5] The remaining routes of China Motor Bus were transferred to a new operator, New World First Bus.

Its business was expanded into mainland China with a joint venture operation in Beijing through Citybus (China) Limited. It was not only Beijing's first joint venture bus operation, but it also marked the introduction of air-conditioned buses for the first time in the capital city. Following the success of this route, a second urban express coach route was introduced in Beijing. However, the services in Beijing were terminated shortly after the disposal of shares of Citybus (China) Limited from Citybus to Kingsman Global Limited, another Hong Kong company, in June 2004. Citybus had also once operated a route (route 658) in Tianjin. The service is now operated by another company after Citybus disposed all its interest in Citybus (China) Limited.

In July 1999, Citybus was purchased by Stagecoach Group of Scotland.[5][13] In 2001, the cross-boundary coach service between China and Hong Kong was discontinued.

In June 2003, Stagecoach Group sold Citybus to Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, the parent company of the major rival operator New World First Bus.[14][15] And after a series of restructurings, Citybus is now a subsidiary of NWS Transport Services Limited, which is also the parent company of New World First Bus and New World First Ferry.[5]


As of 2015 Citybus operates 108 routes.[3]

It currently operates two franchises:

  • Franchise 1: 1 July 2006 – 31 May 2016,[16] already extended for another 10 years starting 1 June 2016
  • Franchise 2: 1 May 2013 – 30 April 2023[17]


Cityflyer is an airport coach service in this operator. The service was started during the opening of the Hong Kong International Airport in 1998. This service is operated exclusively using 110 Alexander Dennis Enviro500MMCs and 3 Alexander Dennis Enviro500s as of 30/5/2019. Citybus is currently in ownership of more Cityflyer-designated vehicles but said vehicles have yet to enter service.


As at 2015, the fleet consisted of 981 buses.[3] Most buses are from British manufacturers (such as Alexander Dennis) or European busmakers (such as Volvo Buses), but CityBus has ordered five single deck K9R buses from Chinese manufacturers like BYD Auto[18] as well as Youngman JNP6120GR (based on Neoplan).


Operation Department One

Operation Department Two


  2. "Average Daily Public Transport Passenger Journeys by Public Transport Operator" (PDF). Monthly Traffic and Transport Digest 2015. Transport Department. 2015.
  3. "2015 Annual Transport Digest". Transport Department. 2015.
  4. Citybus – First Bus Company Structure, company website
  5. History New World First Bus
  6. Hong Kong to buy British Commercial Motor 28 September 1985
  7. "Hong Kong Buses Part 2: Citybus Limited" Fleetline issue 248 May 1997 page 91
  8. From Hong Kong by bus Commercial Motor 10 January 1991
  9. The History of Ensignbus Ensignbus
  10. FirstGroup finds London bus firm is just the ticket The Herald (Glasgow) 9 July 1998
  11. Tendered Bus Services Select Committee on Environment, Transport & Regional Affairs March 1999
  12. Annual Report Year Ended 31 March 1999 FirstGroup
  13. Stagecoach enters Hong Kong BBC News 18 January 1999
  14. Stagecoach sells HK buses BBC News 9 June 2003
  15. Stagecoach takes the £176m road away from Hong Kong The Daily Telegraph 10 June 2003
  16. Legislative Council Brief 2006
  17. Grant of new franchises to three bus companies Hong Kong Government 24 April 2012
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