talk back

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 May, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 May, 2004, 12:00am

Q Are speed and red-light cameras an effective way of reducing the road toll?

Compared with the old cameras, the new speed and red-light cameras are more accurate and efficient. It takes a shorter time to identify speeding drivers so it is likely that more will be penalised.

Photos from old police cameras may not clearly show the licence numbers of speeding cars or they take much longer to process. With the new cameras, speeding drivers can no longer escape punishment. The nighttime races on Clear Water Bay Road and Tuen Mun Road will be dealt with more effectively.

Eric Tsui Kwok-fung, Shamshuipo

On other matters ...

Two gentlemen on an RTHK radio programme on Wednesday laughed when talking about a small dog that had probably been killed and eaten by a wandering swine. They even made sounds resembling a swine tearing and eating its prey.

Before this, I heard other radio presenters such as a lady named 'Yui' on another RTHK station laughing inappropriately when reporting this sad news item.

In my opinion, they should present themselves in a more civilised and neutral manner.

P.L. Tam, Tuen Mun

I would like to respond to the letter on May 11 about using mules for the Tung Chung cable-car project as a cost-saving idea and questioning the importing of mules from Canada instead of the mainland.

The idea of having mules in the project was not driven solely by cost considerations. The benefits of using mules are two-fold. Firstly, there will be less environmental impact on the North Lantau Country Park because temporary ropeway towers and roads will not be required. This is in keeping with the sustainability objectives of the project. Secondly, the mules will provide us with the flexibility of being able to continue working when helicopters are unable to fly, due to low visibility or high winds.

The transport of materials by pack animals in the mountainous terrain of Lantau is a complex issue, requiring careful selection of appropriate animals and the development of suitable operating procedures. The criteria for selection include type and quality of animal, the level of training, the overall condition of the animals and their treatment.

Importing pack animals into Hong Kong is also governed by protocols between Hong Kong and the source country.

A specialist agent was therefore appointed to source suitable animals from locations around the world with which Hong Kong has established protocols. We are led to believe there is no such protocol between Hong Kong and the mainland. The agent has also prepared operating procedures that have been agreed with the relevant authorities in Hong Kong.

The mules from Canada were chosen because of their suitability and the fact that they had already been specially trained for pack transport. They have two to four years of relevant experience.

Miranda Leung, general manager (corporate relations), MTRC

I am writing to express my frustration and disappointment over a serious safety issue with New World First Bus' No14 bus route from Sai Wan Ho to Stanley. Until last week, I caught the bus every morning, from Monday to Friday.

After complaining unsuccessfully to the driver about his reckless, unsafe driving, I complained twice in February on the company's website, out of concern for other's safety, especially other road users.

I received no reply until I faxed the company in March. A prompt, polite, helpful telephone call was forthcoming. Incredibly, the same driver continues on the same route, but he drives even faster now.

While under this driver's control, I have witnessed numerous near misses, panic braking and blatant speeding on the most dangerous parts of Tai Tam Road - one of the most dangerous roads in Hong Kong.

It is truly a miracle our bus has not crashed. Once, the bus lost rear-wheel traction on a wet road for several seconds and slid noticeably - this is quite an extraordinary event for a large bus.

On May 5, I faxed a complaint, signed by four of my colleagues, to the Transport Department and a prompt, polite reply was made. I was reassured that action had been taken. Unbelievably, the same driver continues on the same route at the same time, most mornings. I visited Stanley police station to see if they could help. The officers were extremely helpful and serious about tackling the situation. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible for the police to intervene in such a case.

I encourage other road users to voice any similar complaints directly to newspapers and choose other, safer means of travel. This will undoubtedly rectify the problems.

I expect a response in this newspaper from the Transport Department and New World First Bus as to what useful action they will take about my case - not just giving lip service and useless warnings to the driver and company. It does nothing.

Thankfully, most popular locations in Hong Kong are served by more than one transport provider. We can choose the best and safest operators ourselves. I am now enjoying a new form of transport to Stanley.

I also express my sympathy to the poor lady who was crushed by a bus, due to its apparent loss of control in Central last week. It was reportedly possibly due to dangerous driving. I intend to have this letter translated into Chinese and will send it to the most popular Chinese newspapers to further promote public safety.

Patrick Gilbert, Lam Tin

I write to urge the KCRC to speed up environmental restoration works in respect of the Ma On Shan railway project. The monitoring authority from the Highways Department is also advised to closely observe the progress of the restoration work.

Ever since the railway project started, I would say the beautiful and graceful environment along the route from Ma On Shan to Tai Wai has been greatly disturbed or damaged.

Before the project started, the KCRC emphasised the importance of environmental impact.

However, since the viaduct for the project was completed at the end of last year and the trial runs on the railways started, I have hardly seen any environmental restoration work carried out along the route.

What I see is broken ground and empty flower beds that are now rubbish bins and unnecessary hoardings and fences everywhere, without any workmen working on them. Can the KCRC speed up the works so that the people of Sha Tin can enjoy a better environment and life as soon as possible?

Name and address supplied