Mini buses in HK are akin to the tuk-tuk in Bangkok – lawless! There are 2 kinds of mini buses, red and green. The green are relatively more regulated, for a start the buses are numbered, have designated bus stops and follow a specified route. Red mini buses on the other-hand are the real renegades – not numbered, no designated stops, designed to allow them to change the route at their fancy. Most Red mini buses operate on cash-only basis, while Octopus (stored value card) is accepted in most Green. The bus (or its drivers) are incredibly agile. When you’re onboard you feel as-if the bus is made of flexible material from the way it swerves around traffic and squeeze into tight spots. Even though all mini buses are fitted with a speed tracker that beeps when the speed reaches 80 km/h, the annoying noise does not deter the drivers from exceeding the speed.
Though riding on a mini bus is potentially life-threatening, most HKies put up with it because it is fast. Imagine travelling from Mongkok to Sham Tseng in Tsuen Wan, a distance of about 27km in 15 mins. According to Google Maps, that same distance is expected to take 34 mins. By travelling on the mini bus, you get an extra 19 mins to do something else… not a bad risk to take (sic). If you’re unlucky to ride on a bus without seat belts, the risk increases exponentially but at least there are handle bars on the seat.
A typical perception of HKies is that they are quick to complain when things are not up-to standard… and the bar is set very high. And yet, a bus filled with 18 people are willing to suffer the nauseating ride, bopping from side-to-side and front to back, without a complaint – that is indeed a rare sight. Anyway it’s a good thing the ride is short because when I arrive at my destination I am almost always at puking point.