talk back

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 November, 2004, 12:00am

Q Will the $10 surcharge put you off using the MTR?

If the MTR Corporation wants to cut down on obstruction and fare abuse, then it should employ inspectors to patrol stations.

Recently as I was travelling towards Admiralty, there were four passengers carrying large boxes and goods on trolleys in my carriage. One had an unwrapped television facing standing commuters. If the screen smashed, nearby passengers would have suffered serious cuts to their feet and legs. How did the passengers carrying such goods manage to reach the platforms at their point of departure without being challenged by MTRC staff?

When the train reached Central, I had to ask one of the commuters carrying many packages to stand aside and allow other passengers onto the escalator first. If a heavy package were to fall off a trolley and down a crowded escalator the result could be serious.

I frequently see messenger services set up shop beside an MTR ticket office, where they sit on the ground sorting out their deliveries. Another favourite spot is the ledges of the shops in the area. It is obvious there are no security guards patrolling the stations.

The MTRC should also alter the design of its shopfronts to discourage people from sitting on the ledges. This could be done by adding a sloping shelf to the existing structures.

The design of the stations should encourage people to move on rather than linger in the station.

Mary Melville, Tsim Sha Tsui

Q Should the penalty points for jumping a red light be increased?

Speeding minibus and cars jumping red lights are terrifying. I understand minibus drivers want to fight for more passengers by driving faster, but ignoring traffic controls, lights and zebra crossings is dangerous.

Drivers have to bear in mind that they are responsible for keeping their passengers safe. The most effective way to stop drivers from driving unsafely is through imposing tougher penalties, which will directly affect their livelihood.

Car drivers are even more irresponsible. Sometimes they drive unnecessarily fast while neglecting all traffic controls on the road.

It seems they are showing off their driving skills or their cars - or they really are in a road race. Increased penalties must be implemented to punish these selfish and ridiculous drivers.

Sara Cheng, Pokfulam

Q What is the most effective way to deter drivers from speeding?

I believe increasing the visibility of police on the road will have no effect, as drivers know at all times where the officers are.

How many times has one seen a minibus driver being issued a speeding ticket by the police? I have lived in Hong Kong for 17 years and I have never seen this happen.

Displaying the speed of the minibus inside the cabin does not work because passengers are extremely reluctant to raise the issue with the driver for fear of losing face in front of other passengers, who by the way are quite happy to get to their destination faster.

Audible speed alarms will not work as they will need to be set for a specific speed and the routes the buses travel have various speed limits. Also, I don't believe one could trust drivers to reset the limit as they change zones.

The most effective way to control speeding minibus drivers is to have a pool - and I mean many - of plain-clothed transport inspectors or police who would travel as passengers noting transgressions made by drivers. At the end of the route the officer could then warn the driver, issue a fixed penalty if needed, or even have the driver arrested.

Enforcement of the law is paramount for this method to be effective.

Name and address supplied

On other matters ...

Having driven in Hong Kong for nearly 12 years, I am amazed to learn that a road users' code exists.

Drivers should not have to search for such a publication. They will not. A free copy should be thrust into their faces every time they renew their licence, every time they pay their vehicle tax and every time they commit a driving offence.

Better still, a free copy should be sent to every household on a regular basis (perhaps with one of the quarterly rates demands, to save postage), as, one would hope, it also contains guidelines for pedestrians. This would be particularly important when there are new laws.

Further, why is it that, having suggested, in at least one published letter in the Post, some form of basic driver's manual, I have never received a reply from the Department of Transport telling me of the existence of this publication and where it can be obtained?

Peter Robertson, Sai Kung

A new set of signs has been installed on Hiram's Highway. Going towards Sai Kung, drivers see that the new signs state a speed limit of 50km/h (downhill). However, on the other side of the same road, towards Kowloon (uphill), the speed limit has not been changed, and is 70km/h.

It should be mentioned that Hiram's Highway is a relatively new addition, with a four-lane highway, central concrete barrier and pedestrian subways.

Why has the Transport Department now limited the speed on a high-class and well-lit four-lane highway? Why did the government bother building pedestrian subways if the speed on the road was going to be drastically limited?

Since the road has been opened for many months, why have the signs only been introduced now? When and where was the consultation period? I ask officials to please document the reasons and prove that the change and the expense are justified.

Why build a four-lane highway at enormous expense if the speed is to be limited to 50km/h? It seems to be an ideal place for a speed trap. Is this a police initiative?

The new road was never well-conceived. It delivers four-lane traffic to the Ho Chung village junction, which is narrow and limited by a single-lane bridge and single-lane traffic signals. Has the Transport Department only just realised the problem?

John Herbert, Sai Kung

I write in response to 'Home appeals for help to survive', published in the Post on October 2, which raised awareness about how vulnerable the China Coast Community Home in Kowloon Tong is.

On behalf of us at the elderly care facility, I would like to say a special thank you to Post staff Anita Ritchie, Simon Parry and the photographers.

The response to the article has been overwhelming, with many people contributing in different ways - either with money, their expertise in various fields or, most of all, their valuable time visiting the home and meeting me to discuss ideas to raise funds.

To all who responded to the article, our heartfelt thanks for their kindness, generosity and encouragement in our endeavour to make the twilight years of our elderly residents dignified.

L.V.Singh, China Coast Community