The era of the hot dog bus is at an end.
First mentioned here in 2002 and again (with photo) in 2004, the hot dog bus had its fans regardless of its brutal interior temperatures in the height of summer. Open windows and a breeze may be appealing, but with increased air pollution from today's glut of vehicles the combination is less attractive.
The last hot dog bus left on route 5A running from the Tsim Sha Tsui pier to Kowloon City at 12.02am, using a Dennis Dragon GD605 model first built 18 years ago. It had started out as an air-conditioned vehicle but Kowloon Motor Bus removed the compressor to run the bus with a lower fare.
Hot dog buses have served Hong Kong since 1949, but despite the historical significance KMB let it go out with a whimper instead of a bang: no ceremony or farewell party, merely a final night run. But hot dog bus buffs are not done yet and have suggested that KMB keep one route running them for posterity.
There is merit in the idea; one of the best parts of taking the Star Ferry is that most of its current fleet was built in the 1950s and the plucky little crafts are still going strong. It wouldn't kill KMB to maintain a route and even promote it as a tourist attraction.
One Hot Dog please, hold the aircon.