This week there was an accident involving a double-decker bus that toppled over, resulting in two deaths.
On Wednesday there was a letter in the SCMP complaining that double-decker buses are an unwelcome colonial legacy.
Double-decker buses are yet another of the mindless colonial imitations of London (the others include wearing black business clothes suitable for cold and damp climates). No safety engineer could possibly argue that the buses are as safe in Hong Kong, where there are more sharply curved roads, more steep grades and higher winds than there are in London.
The double-deckers are also a hazard to other drivers since they often block drivers' views of roadside signs and even, for those immediately behind the buses, the signs overhead. It may be that the double-deckers augment the passenger capacity of the buses and may be more cost-effective than single-deck vehicles. But shouldn't safety come first?
Not long ago, there was a horrific accident with a double-decker bus on the Tuen Mun Highway, with multiple fatalities. How many more people must lose their lives before the government realises that these vehicles, while appropriate for London, are dangerous in Hong Kong?
Eugene Eoyang, Mid-Levels
Well, well, what a great thinker we have here. It “may be” that double-deckers carry more passengers? Surely there’s no doubt about that. We may have “higher winds” in Hong Kong, but I can’t ever recall a bus being blown over in a typhoon. We may have “more sharply curved roads” but why is a double-decker bus less able to negotiate a tight bend than a single-decker?
Two letter writers have subsequently pointed out that the real problem may be the drivers rather than the vehicles. Well, yes, that could be it.
Anyway, it got me thinking about where else in the world you can find double-deckers, and indeed there a few former colonies (Singapore, Sri Lanka and Canada), but they are also to be found in Germany (Berlin), Turkey, China, Japan, and Russia, amongst other places. So I think we can assume that double-decker buses are used for logical reasons, not to imitate London.