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Hundreds Line Up for the First Hydrogen-powered Bus Trips in Hong Kong

Hong Kong's first hydrogen-powered double-decker bus made its maiden trip on Sunday, marking a significant step towards a zero-emission fleet. Operator Citybus aims to have a completely zero-emission fleet by 2045, five years ahead of the government's carbon-neutral city deadline.

Despite the chilly weather, hundreds of bus enthusiasts lined up as early as 3am on Muk On Street in Kai Tak to witness the HK$8 million (US$1.02 million) bus enter into service at 11am. Equipped with cameras and placards, more than a hundred people secured places for the first run along route 20, which passes through Kowloon City, Yau Tsim Mong, and Sham Shui Po.

Ken Lai, 18, who was the first in the queue, expressed his excitement about the bus stopping at the Yau Ma Tei Wholesale Fruit Market, a historical place, to juxtapose with the new technology of the bus. Gordon Auyeung, 12, who managed to get a seat next to the hydrogen battery-powered bus engine, mentioned that the engine on this bus is much quieter and does not emit air pollutants.

Some bus enthusiasts filmed the entire route from the front of the top deck, capturing the bell, announcements, and the engine noise. Others who couldn't board the bus staked out spots along the route to catch a glimpse of the vehicle as it passed.

Roger Ma Chim-wai, the general manager of operations for Citybus, stated that the new bus would initially make six to eight trips a day on route 20 in its first month. Afterward, it will be transferred to other districts, including route 22M between To Kwa Wan and the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, and route 20A, which connects the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal to the West Kowloon High-Speed Rail Station. Ma also mentioned the company's plan to have at least five of these eco-friendly buses in service this year and to create a second refueling station on Hong Kong Island.

The hydrogen-powered buses, equipped with hydrogen cylinders and supply systems, are more environmentally friendly than diesel-fueled vehicles. Hydrogen is converted into electricity through a chemical reaction, with the only emission being water. Refueling takes about 10 minutes and allows the bus to travel up to 400km (249 miles).

Citybus's commitment to achieving a zero-emissions fleet by 2045 aligns with the government's goal of a carbon-neutral city. The introduction of hydrogen-powered buses in Hong Kong represents a significant milestone in the transition towards a cleaner and greener transportation sector.

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