KMB bus tickets, 1950s

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 19:28

Photo courtesy of reader Moddsey.

Date picture taken


Stephen, thanks for your comments today. Please can you remember how the tickets were used?

When I first saw them I assumed the ticket showed one route, and would be punched to mark where you got on. But that would be quite a route if it visited all those places!

And what does 'The Monument' refer to?

Regards, MrB

I have 18 Kowloon Motor Bus Co tickets only 2 of which are like those on your site.  They are for 19 destinations in 10 sectors, see the dark lines.  The majority of mine are for 10 destinations.  There are no date / time stamps merely a punch hole.  Read the small print at the bottom and you will see that you had to have a ticket punched for your destination. So I assume (cannot remember ) that the conductor would know from the serial number that the ticket was a recent issue and not an old ticket offered a second time.  Also the stamp would be for a destination on the bus route which had yet to be reached.  Not much more complicated than that.  They are all for 10 cents and mine are punched for journeys in both directions, - not punched twice, the same version was used for all journeys.  So I have identical tickets punched for the Star Ferry (which I would have purchased on boarding in Kowloon City) and also for Kowloon City.

As for the Monument, I have no real memory, but feel it was a building on/off Nathan road.  I will ask my sister and some HK friends I have from the 1950's.   


Stephen Roberts

The Monument was a granite obelisk that was erected at the corner of Gascoigne and Jordan Roads in memory of the French sailors who lost their lives as a result of the foundering of the Torpeo Boat 'Fronde' near the Torpedo Depot, Kowloon during the great typhoon of 18 September 1906. During the 1950s, the Monument was re-located to the 'Colonial' Cemetery in Happy Valley.

Moddsey & Stephen, thanks for the info. One other question - I see the ticket is marked '2nd. Class'. Does it mean the bus was split up into different sections, with different prices charged for the different classes?

During the years I used the bus, there was only one class although they might have intended to have two (upper level for first class?).

The bus conductor sold tickets by walking back and forth half-waving and clicking his hand-held hole puncher which was a signal to those who just climbed aboard.   It cost ten cents but on some routes, I paid twenty cents to ride a further distance.  However, each of the bus routes (16 in the 1950s) had only one terminal destination.  So after leaving the Star Ferry terminal, the No. 2 conductor would punch a hole on "Sham Shui Po" (Lai Chi Kok Rd and Yum Chu St) which was its destination.  There were no bus-transfer benefit so one had to buy a new ticket when changing bus.

Occasionally, an inspector would come onboard to ensure everyone had a valid ticket.  On early morning, he woke up a man sleeping who for the next two minutes tried but could not find his ticket.  It was mixed with his over-hundred out-dated tickets he had collected over months.  The conductor let the guy off.  I thought it was funny.   

In 1933 when bus services were granted to CMB and KMB under tender of franchise, first and second class compartments were required on buses. This was in keeping with other modes of transport that existed at the time e.g. trams, ferries and railway. Social inequality and class division was still prevalent.

On buses, the front two rows with upholstered seats were designated as first class with second/third class seating behind with wooden longitudinal slat type seats. This system remained in force until the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong.

By 1949, all urban routes were charging 20 cents with KMB charging 10 cents for sectional fares.

After WWII, although the class differentiation system was discontinued, it was not, however legally abolished through a review of the bus franchise. Therefore, the bus companies continued to issue second class tickets on all  routes even though a single fare was charged. In 1960, the two class seating arrangement through amendment of the franchise was legally done away with.


Thanks to oldtimer for the extra memories, and moddsey for finding out about the classes. All clear now,


Yes Mr. Roberts, I remember the lower level of the Star Ferry was cheaper to ride but nosier because it was close to the engine.  The upper level had more comfortable benches.  I think the Shum Shui Po ferry (and others?) had only one fare.

Hi there,

I remember when I was  in my teens (the 1970's)  we could roam the upper and lower deck of the HYF harbour routes.  They even have a tuck shop on the lower deck for snacks, instant noodels and hot/chilled beverages.

HYF lines to the out-lying islands introduced the air-conditioned deck after the triple deckers were in service and they were charging a premium on weekends and holidays.

Best Regards,



I lost track of where Moddsey mentioned the HK library site so here may be the next best to recall the good old days.  In the library under photos, there is one showing "the present Mei Foo Sun Chuen locates on oil depot" which appears to have been printed in reverse.

On right of that photo (turning north after coming out of the bay) is I believe the tiny, low-lying and rocky Ling Ding island.  In the 50s I paddled there in my rental boat (30 cents) and looked for clams.  It sat, on today's map, near the circle drive between Container Port Road South and Tsing Kwai Hwy.  Lack of courage prevented further adventure to to next bigger island (Nam Wan) which looked totally in its natural state.

when ticket collectors were still in vogue, as a 2 foot 6 midget who looked the other way - literally half the time never paid - then they invented the coin collectors.....

Submitted by
kydas (not verified)
Fri, 05/28/2010 - 09:10

Do these old HK bus tickets worth anything as collectibles?  I have a set numbered from 0000 to 9999 !     

Submitted by
sf (not verified)
Fri, 05/28/2010 - 10:41

In reply to by kydas (not verified)

Yes, people do buy & sell them on ebay. I bought 2 supposedly old tram tickets that way but they look like fake repro. Too new looking.

Hello Yann, I'm Joseph, the editor of tram blog that David introduced. Please feel free to visit my blog page and welcome for comments, I do have some tram tickets which are rarely found in the market. The fun on research and sharing is enjoyable.

Regards, Joseph