Hong Kong has a diverse multi-modal public transport system, comprising a Kowloon-Canton Railway, a Mass Transit Railway, an Airport Railway, a Light Rail Transit, a tramway, franchised buses, public light buses, taxis, residents' services, a funicular cable tramway and ferry services, extending to almost every part of the territory. Rehabus services are also available for persons with mobility difficulties.
Public transport patronage increased in 2004 by about 5.6% over 2003 to 11.05 million passengers per day. The largest passenger carrying mode was franchised buses, which carried 4.08 million passengers per day. Franchised bus patronage increased by about 0.8% in 2004. Coming next were the railways, which carried 3.83 million passengers per day. Railway patronage increased by 12% compared with last year due to the opening of new railways including West Rail in late 2003 and Tsim Sha Tsui Extension and Ma On Shan rail in late 2004. Railways, being the most environmentally friendly form of mass transport, will continue to expand in network and will form the backbone of Hong Kong's transport system, with other modes playing a supplementary although still important role to ensure that commuters will continue to have choice of services. For franchised buses, there were continuing improvements in the quality of franchised buses. By end 2004, about 91% of the franchised buses were air-conditioned buses and about 61% were Euro II or above buses with less emission. To ensure more efficient use of bus resources and to provide passengers with more choice of routes, bus-bus interchange schemes were promoted. In 2004, a total of 32 bus-bus interchange schemes were introduced.
The market share of ferry remained at about 1.4% in 2004 with 155 000 daily passenger trips. As at end 2004, there were altogether 12 franchised and licensed ferry operators providing 29 regular passenger ferry services to the outlying islands and across the harbour.