New World First Bus

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

New World First Bus
ParentNWS Holdings
Founded1 September 1998
Service areaHong Kong
Service typeBus services
Fleet709 (October 2015)[1]
Daily ridership489,000 (2012)

NWFB was established in 1998, taking over 88 China Motor Bus services on 1 September 1998 on Hong Kong Island. It is owned by NWS Holdings.


Before NWFB commenced, franchised bus service in Hong Kong Island was provided by China Motor Bus (CMB) (franchisee since 1933) and Citybus (franchisee since 1991). In the early 1990s, the service levels of CMB were in decline. Therefore, the Government of Hong Kong 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.[2]

In spite of the loss of many profitable routes, the service of China Motor Bus did not show any significant improvement. In February 1998, the government announced the franchise for all 140 routes operated by China Motor Bus would not be reviewed when it expired 31 August 1998. Eighty-eight of the routes were placed to open tender, 12 routes were transferred directly to Citybus, one cross-harbour route to Kowloon Motor Bus, and the remaining routes were cancelled.[3][4]

Six companies lodged bids:[5][6]

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 was awarded a five-year franchise in March 1998 with commitments of new facilities, improved service standards and employment of CMB staff. 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. NWFB commenced operating at midnight on 1 September 1998 after a series of negotiations and with help from the government. The first official NWFB departure took place at 00:15 on route N8 with the first new bus in the 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.[7][8]

NWFB commenced operations with around 50 new buses and 710 former CMB buses, with the NWFB logo applied over the CMB logos and blue patches over the CMB corporate flag. Having purchased large numbers of second-hand buses from China Motor Bus, New World First Bus started an extensive program to refurbish them. The floor, handrails, lighting system and seating layout were all upgraded. The seating arrangement of buses were slightly modified. A typical refurbished bus accommodated 10 fewer passengers than one before refurbishment.[8]

In May 2000 FirstGroup sold its shares to joint venture partner New World Development giving it 100% ownership.[9]

In June 2003 fellow franchised bus operator Citybus was purchased by NWFB parent company NWS Holdings, bringing the bus services of Hong Kong Island 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.[9]

In January 2004 NWFB took a 51% shareholding in Kunming New World First Bus, a joint venture established with the Kunming government to operate services to Kunming in Yunnan on 39 routes with 700 buses.[9]

Bus fleet

As at 2019, the entire fleet consisted of around 800 low-floor buses where the majority are double-deck. NWFB operates four depots at Heng Fa Chuen, Wong Chuk Hang, Tseung Kwan o and West Kowloon.[10]


When the government decided to terminate China Motor Bus' franchise, New World First Bus acquired 88 routes. Other routes were handed over to Citybus and Kowloon Motor Bus. New World First Bus 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. As at November 2013 NWFB operates 51 routes. As it is also the second bus operator to be fully air-conditioned fleet in Hong Kong, triple digit routes beginning with 5 do not have significant meaning. In October 2009, NWFB commenced operating through its Rickshaw Sightseeing Bus subsidiary.[10]

See also


  1. "Average age and respective numbers of buses in the fleet of each franchised bus company" (PDF). Legislative Council. 18 November 2015.
  2. History Citybus
  3. Daily Information Bulletin Hong Kong Government Information Services 17 February 1998
  4. Panel on Transport (Minutes) Provisional Legislative Council 21 February 1998
  5. CKI Forms Consortium To Bid for Bus Tender Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings 13 March 1998
  6. Bus groups battle for Hong Kong tender Herald Scotland 14 March 1998
  7. UK bus operator wins £55m franchise The Independent 1 April 1998
  8. Panel on Transport (Papers) Legislative Council Panel on Transport 31 July 1998
  9. Milestones 2000 NWS Holdings Limited
  10. New World First Bus Hong Kong Transport Department
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