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Buses Are Like Movie Stars In Hong Kong

Illustration for article titled Buses Are Like Movie Stars In Hong Kong

At Jalopnik, we understand your occasional need to stalk a car. Maybe you want a picture, or to meet the owner and say what a great car it is. Or leave a note or something. Things are different in Hong Kong, though, where they're basically celebrity stalking buses. Yes, buses.

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There's an enormous fan base for double-decker buses there, according to the Wall Street Journal. Probably moreso even than in England, they've become a cultural icon. People are waiting on streets, armed with cameras, for the buses that are decorated with colorful ads or prints or whatever.

Interestingly, they've also developed glowing descriptions for their favorite buses:

"I get a very special feeling when riding a bus," says Dennis Law, 35, a photographer and local bus aficionado. "It's a kind of freedom, a leisure feeling." His favorite is a new model of the red and yellow Enviro500 MMC, built by U.K. bus builder Alexander Dennis Limited, launched last year. "It's quite luxurious," says Mr. Law. "It feels like you're in a race car."

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A bus that feels like a race car. That's a new one. Of course, some of us lust after something called an MP4-12C. Not at all an alluring name.

But just as other, less car-centric cities have immense love for two-wheeled transportation, Hong Kong has double-decker buses. To each culture its own.

Photo: Getty Images

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DISCUSSION

The market for double-decker buses has historically been quite small, limited to places like the UK and Hong Kong; so the fleet in HK has naturally been dominated by a handful of constructors in the UK...

As far as the UK is concerned, most double-decker buses aren't a "cultural icon", they're just a form of cheap public transport. However, the red ones in London are distinctive... surviving Routemasters are quite expensive now, prices pushed up due to demand from collectors and folk who'd convert them to party-buses &c.

I wanted to take a Routemaster on the Budapest-Bamako rally; couldn't find anybody else crazy enough to join that project.