Conditions of carriage are duly set by all means of transport. One of the more controversial list is that of the MTR where there are a few head-scratching (to say the least) regulations in place like “dangerous driving” which might only apply to carriage driver, failure to queue which is often violated or wrongfully entering or leaving the train.
In the case of KMB buses — or the Citybus for that matter — there are regulations that we may be violating and we are not aware of them. Check the following if you have been doing any:
1. Collecting bus fare from other passengers. By this line we don’t mean soliciting from other passengers for money so you can continue your journey after paying the fare using their generosity. It’s that instance when you realize your Octopus card doesn’t have enough funds or malfunction. Your next option is to reach out for your coin purse, which happens to have not enough coins to pay the fare.
Now you reach out for your wallet to take out the bills but unwilling to put it into the box — you won’t get any change. So you survey the area and approach someone who may be kind enough to be bothered with any equivalent to money exchange, hoping to find one. Again you’re not asking for money but the wording “may not collect bus fares from other passengers inside the bus” seems to cover such bills-to-coins transaction. While this is not really a serious offense in our opinion, KMB must offer more clarity to avoid confusion.
2. Bringing in pets. It’s quite normal to observe dogs instead of babies occupying prams and strollers so it’s quite accepted in a Hong Kong society to have couples have pets instead of children. But dogs don’t often get carried in a pram but in crates and carriers that kind of hide them from public view. KMB states that live poultry, birds or any other animals (cats, lizards, snakes, etc) cannot be brought in.
There’s one exemption to this: dogs serving as guide to the blind. And although we seldom see these guide dogs in Hong Kong, it is a relief that KMB cares for the persons with disability the same way it provides special ramp for the wheel chair bound and handicap priority at bus stops.
3. Bringing in items exceeding 0.1 cubic meters. The MTR has been in hot water for its double standards in letting in passengers with bulky items such as double bass but allowed entry of merchandise packed in large carton boxes. In the case of the double decker buses, 0.1 cubic meters is the standard limit of allowable items passengers can bring along. This is a little larger than a medium suitcase but less than large or extra large suitcases. Given that buses have smaller area inside than the MTR it has the right to enforce space limitations, at least during busy hours. But so far, we never experienced passengers turned away for bringing bulky items. Unless maybe its disproportionately huge that it could impede passenger movement inside.
4. Carrying items weighing more than 5 kilograms. Tell that to the primary school kids whose bags can reach 10 kilograms. This is a corollary to #3 but this is more likely violated simply because the rule is just a bit too harsh. Travelers sometimes prefer to take the bus not only because it is convenient but also because it gives them better chance to sit down and lay down heavy items. So we seek the bus companies to be more lenient on this.
5. Not offering seats to those who need them more. In case you don’t know yet, they are the elderly, the disabled, pregnant women or those travelling with young children. Although we think this is more of personal discretion rather than a fixed rule, we may be guilty of this. Some people have their own way of getting around this: pretending to be asleep, being engaged in his or her smartphone or looking away from the person with physical incapacity.
6. Disturbing order inside the bus. This consists of things that we think we are entitled to do inside the bus but in actuality aren’t. This may include clipping of nails, speaking loudly with a seatmate or on the phone, putting feet on the seats or pushing against the seat in front. Hong Kong people can be quite dismissive but when things go beyond limits, things can get out of hand and could end up on a viral social media post.
7. Use of coins less than HK$1 for fare payment exceeding HK$2. In KMB’s exact words: “Do not use coins of denominations of less than $1 for payment of an amount exceeding $2.” If I pay a bus ride from Wan Chai to North Point worth HK$4.10, use of eight fifty cents and 10 cents is actually not allowed. Strange but we think this rule is widely ignored.