More cross-border pupils test logistics
Hong Kong authorities expect the number of cross-border students to rise more than 40 per cent in September and are discussing transport arrangements with their mainland counterparts.
Undersecretary for security Lai Tung-kwok said yesterday 12,000 children from kindergarten to secondary school age now crossed the border every day, but this number would surge to 17,000.
More mainland parents who gave birth to children in Hong Kong were sending them to school in the city, putting pressure on border checkpoints.
'We are less worried about older students but we are very concerned about the safety of those younger ones,' Lai told RTHK.
He said that several months ago the Hong Kong and mainland authorities had agreed to set up designated areas at the border so children could safely board their school buses.
'But the problem will become more serious in the upcoming semester as the number of students will increase,' Lai said.
Lai said there were five car parks at the Lok Ma Chau MTR station for 20 school buses, which handled 3,000 pupils during peak hours. This would increase to seven car parks in September, handling 28 buses.
Lai said the government now provided three cross-border buses for pupils, but they were not popular with parents because children needed to get off the bus twice so their identity documents could be checked on both sides of the border.