BY ALICE ZHAO
HONG KONG – Hot Dog, nickname for “non air-conditioned buses” in Hong Kong, will disappear from the city forever as the last series of the old buses of Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) will retire this Wednesday.
No. 5A, 16, 93K, 98A, the last batch of “hot dogs” (S3V), will reach the 17-year legal age limit of franchised bus in Hong Kong and are required to stop revenue-earning service by law, marking an end to the iconic Hong Kong Hot Dogs.
Until KMB received their first air-conditioned double decker bus (Leyland Olympian 11m, fleet number AL1) in 1988, all franchised buses running in Hong Kong were non air-conditioned.
As the trial of the first air-con bus in the Colony was deemed successful, KMB started ordering air-con buses in a larger scale.
Last decades have witnessed the hot debate over global warming, which accelerated the change for Hong Kong buses. Being the typical monsoon-influenced humid subtropical climate, Hong Kong has an average temperature of 25℃ in summer, the maximum goes beyond 35℃. High temperature with still air flow inside the Hot Dogs triggered heat stroke of several bus divers every year.
After the arrival of 30 Volvo Olympian non air-con buses (S3V) in 1995, KMB ceased purchasing non air-con buses.
After the long service in the Asian world city, the Hot Dog’s received massive melancholy of farewell from Hong Kong citizen. Online forums are flooding with passenger’s nostalgia. You may be interested to have a glimpse of the buses once running in the bustle, which soon become history.