An independent panel appointed by the government has called for a major overhaul of the city's approach to public bus safety, slamming the current practice of reacting to events rather than initiating steps to prevent accidents.
The three-member panel headed by Justice Michael Lunn was asked to review the operations of existing franchised buses after a fatal crash in Tai Po early last year in which 19 people were killed.
The lengthy report made following months of inquiry said the existing legal and franchising regimes provide "a wholly insufficient emphasis on safety".
Among 45 recommendations to the Transport Department, the committee advised officials to consider limiting the maximum working hours of bus drivers, and should look at whether it's safe to allow them do 14-hour shifts.
It also recommended setting up low-speed zones of 30 kilometres an hour as a trial in some areas.
Another notable recommendation is to take up a campaign involving the police warning passengers against abusing bus drivers. It also proposed new laws to make it a crime to harass bus drivers.
Some recommendations were not released as the legal case over the Tai Po crash is still before the courts.
Reacting to the report, Transport Secretary Frank Chan said while he respects the committee's views, he rejects the charge that the government only reacts after events.
He said that even before the Tai Po crash officials had started work on some measures to prevent such accidents.
The two other members of the panel headed by Lunn were Rex Auyeung, the chairman of Lingnan University Council, and Professor Lo Hong-kam of the University of Science and Technology.