Sports booking goes on Net

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 April, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 April, 2002, 12:00am

The public can now book and pay for time at government sports centres over the Internet or at public kiosks in Hong Kong.

The online booking service, which was launched by ESD Services yesterday, allows people to check availability and make bookings at 120 sports and recreational centres run by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

Tong Ma, chief operating officer for ESD Services, hoped it would encourage more people to use government services.

He said: 'I believe the service will prove very popular. It is a major, killer-application for us to show how the public can enjoy the convenience brought by e-government initiatives.'

Mr Ma said that about 3.5 million bookings were made at government sports centres last year. About 80 per cent of the bookings were made and paid for by users in person. The rest were made over the telephone, but until now people had been required to pay at the booking offices.

Users can pay by Visa, MasterCard, EPS, Jetco or PPS (payment by phone service). No handling fees or additional charges will be incurred.

'By making the booking and payment online, we want to encourage people to do sports and they can also learn about the benefits of e-government services,' Mr Ma said.

A survey last December found that more than 80 per cent of 500 interviewees were willing to use online booking services.

In January, ESD began offering wedding registry bookings and immigration services through the Internet.

Students can now apply online to sit O Level Mandarin examinations and those of the Association Board of the Royal School of Music. Later this year, the company plans to launch online registrations for all O and A Level exams.

Mr Ma said the introduction was proceeding according to plan and the company could achieve the Government's objective of having 90 per cent of public services available electronically by the end of next year.

There are about 100 kiosks at public places such as libraries and MTR stations.