PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 February, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 February, 2003, 12:00am

I have sat on the sidelines and witnessed the various points being made concerning the televised broadcasts on public transport in Hong Kong.

I think both sides have a right to voice their opinion, and my comments are not meant to support either side, but to take a neutral stand on how the problem may be solved.

The problem with the broadcasts is similar to that of the temperature on many of the buses in Hong Kong. You can board a bus in the middle of winter, and actually feel colder inside the bus than outside. Conversely, in the heat of summer, a sweater is often needed so you do not catch a cold while in transit. The main issue is that the companies do not train their drivers to be service providers; they simply drive a bus. The drivers should be trained to understand the temperature and 'ambience level' of the bus prior to their departure to ensure a comfortable ride for the passengers, not for that of the driver. As Hong Kong transforms into a service economy, all segments of the population need to adjust their behaviour in order to provide a better environment for all. Additionally, I have never seen a manager from any bus company actually ride the routes to test the atmosphere of the bus. This 'service' simply does not exist.

Personally, I do not like the broadcasts, and as a passenger I would be pleased if they ceased. However, I realise the bus companies are aiming to make a profit and advertising is a way for them to add revenue amid downward pressure on their fares. The problem is that the volume is usually so loud that I am stressed by the time I reach my destination from listening to the deafening noise from the speakers. However, when I am on a bus, and the 'ambience level' is low, then I can ignore what is on air and enjoy my ride in relative tranquillity.

Perhaps both sides could find a way to resolve this issue if the bus companies (and the KCR Corporation) could ensure that the broadcast levels are comfortable for all passengers, regardless of where they choose to sit, while taking steps to train their drivers to be more sensitive to the needs of the people who are paying their salaries.