Red Minibuses – known locally as Mong Ming Fei Te, literally “Flying Cars of Death” – don’t have the best reputation in Hong Kong. But a new company on the scene aims to transform these scrappy buses into a premium on-demand bus service.
Transit Jam caught up with AN Bus founder Franki Li to find out more.
Li says the Red Minibus service is ideal for experimentation, as it’s the most flexible public transport in Hong Kong: there’s no fixed route, no fixed fares, no fixed timetable. Li has already installed positioning technology on his fleet of three buses and built an app that allows passengers to pre-book seats.
But while his approach is popular with customers, he says it’s going to be tricky to scale up to full on-demand. “With Uber, it’s a linkage between one driver and one customer, one passenger. But when we talk about on-demand buses, it’s matching between one bus and multiple passengers and in real time, so it’s a little complicated,” he says.