Submissions from the Public and Interested Parties / Hearings
The Independent Review Committee (the Committee) is appointed by the Chief Executive with the following terms of reference:
From the point of view of safety, in the light of the fatal accident on February 10 and other recent serious incidents involving franchised buses in Hong Kong:
The Committee commenced its work in March 2018 and invited specifically identified interested parties, including government departments, franchised bus operators, representatives of the employees of franchised bus companies and others concerned with the provision of a safe and reliable franchised bus service, to provide written submissions, by the deadlines as set out in individual invitations, concerning the existing operation and management of bus franchises under the legislative regime, current franchises and other contractual requirements.
In addition to the identified parties, the Committee made a general invitation in March 2018 to members of the public who were interested in the matters being reviewed to give their views to the Committee on or before 30 April 2018.
Hearings to receive oral evidence
In addition to inviting written submissions from specifically identified interested parties and members of the public, the Committee had held a series of hearings from 7 May to 16 October 2018 for the purpose of receiving oral evidence from nominated representatives of specifically identified interested parties. The schedule for the hearings has been set out on “Timetable for Hearings” of the Committee’s website. The Committee’s rules of procedure for the receipt of oral evidence are available on the Committee’s website.
Closing written submissions
The hearings of the Committee have concluded after the hearing to receive further oral evidence from the nominated representatives of the Transport Department on 16 October 2018. Thereafter, the Committee invited specifically identified interested parties and members of the public, if they wish, to make closing written submissions on or before 7 November 2018 to the Committee in respect of recommendations that the Committee ought to make or ought not to make to the Chief Executive on safety-related measures with a view to sustaining a safe and reliable franchised bus service in Hong Kong. 8 closing written submissions have been received.
At the request of the Committee, the Counsel appointed by the Committee has made their closing submissions to the Committee on 29 November 2018.
Pursuant to its Terms of Reference, the Committee has to make recommendations to the Chief Executive on safety-related measures with a view to sustaining a safe and reliable franchised bus service in Hong Kong. The Committee has to submit the report to the Chief Executive in around 9 months' time after its commencement of work in late March 2018.
Having received oral evidence over a total of 21 days, on and between 7 May 2018 and 16 October 2018, from the representatives of nineteen specifically identified interested parties, and that of two expert witnesses, together with a total of over 22 000 pages of their written submissions/reports and those of other parties and the closing submissions of counsel assisting the Committee, the Committee submitted its report to the Chief Executive on 31 December 2018.
The Government announced on 8 January 2019 the release of the Report of the Independent Review Committee on Hong Kong’s Franchised Bus Service, which the Independent Review Committee on Hong Kong’s Franchised Bus Service submitted to the Chief Executive on 31 December 2018, with part of a sentence in the Acknowledgements chapter of the Report redacted to “ensure a fair trial of the ongoing criminal proceedings”. It is noted that the Government will release the full Report after all relevant criminal proceedings have been concluded.
Please click here to see the redacted Report.