Q What measures would best improve public knowledge of traffic conditions?
Undoubtedly, the most effective way for drivers to obtain knowledge about traffic conditions is through radio. However, non-stop repetition of outdated traffic information is meaningless. Thus, the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau and other related units should keep close contact with the designated traffic radio station. In addition, I think the bureau should also publish booklets for drivers suggesting different routes to reach one destination.
Claire Man, Diamond Hill
I am not really concerned about traffic jams. They only delay going home or to work. When it comes to real life and death situations, such as a tsunami about to hit the south side of the island and the Kowloon coast in two hours, how will the government warn us? I imagine the situation will be 10 times more chaotic than last month's traffic jam. It will be catastrophic.
The government has been issuing typhoon and rain warnings on TV and radio all the time. Adding SMS is also a good idea.
Q Is five demerit points sufficient penalty for jumping a red light?
According to your report in the City section, a penalty will be imposed on drivers who run red or yellow lights.
Hong Kong does not have a count-down system on its traffic lights, so the precise moment that the green light will change to a yellow light is unknown to approaching drivers.
According to the 'Road Users' Code' issued by the Transport Department, the stopping distance from 40km/h is 20 metres. By implication, this means when the approaching vehicle (at 40km/h) is less than 20m from the traffic lights, the car cannot stop behind the stop line. No matter what the speed, the decision to stop must be made some distance before the vehicle reaches the stop line.
I fully agree that jumping red lights is dangerous and should have penalties attached to it. However, the yellow light is there for a reason and the laws of physics make it impossible for a moving vehicle to stop instantly, no matter what the speed.
David Norton, Sai Kung
I read in [yesterday's] City section that new penalties for red light jumping have finally been approved, which is something to be applauded, but note with some worry the statement: 'From January 1, drivers who run red or yellow lights will incur five demerit points and a $600 fine.' Since when have amber (yellow) lights become a problem?
Any driver will tell you that passing an amber light is sometimes unavoidable as the lights change when you're too close to the junction/crossing to stop. In fact, the Transport Department's Rule of the Road booklet states very clearly: 'The amber light always follows the green light. You must stop unless you are so close to the junction or crossing that to do so suddenly might cause an accident.'
Of course there are some irresponsible drivers who accelerate when they see green change to amber. Unfortunately I can't see any way to penalise such behaviour without also penalising a great number of law-abiding drivers who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Applying a penalty for passing an amber light makes the amber light redundant. As soon as it appears drivers are going to brake sharply, and that will only lead to a greater incidence of rear-end collisions.
Maurice Wheatley, Yuen Long
On other matters...
When the Roadshow system was originally foisted on the captive audience of bus commuters, the bus companies promised that the introduction of this invasive service would be balanced by the provision of GPS systems and display boards at bus stops giving information on arrival times of buses.
None of this has materialised. Instead, the bus companies have funnelled the revenue from advertising on the buses into separate companies and not one cent has been spent on improvements at bus stops.
Route information is usually displayed on a free-standing pedestal open to the elements and devoid of any lighting, making it almost impossible for commuters to access information after dark.
The Transport Department has taken no steps to protect the interests of those who are irritated by the Roadshow services and has never taken the bus companies to task about the unfulfilled promises.
If the GPS system and LCD screens had been introduced at busy bus stops, then passengers could be alerted to delays and advised to choose alternative routes in cases of congestion or accidents.
Bus terminals should be fitted with large screens giving up-to-date information that would help commuters pick the route that gets them to their destination in the shortest time.
A change of attitude on the part of the Transport Department from protecting the interests of transport providers to that of promoting and protecting the interests of commuters is long overdue.
I remember, in the not too distant past, that the Lantau airport bus service used to provide a service for bulky items of luggage.
When required, the driver would open the luggage compartment in which a passenger could place his luggage and retrieve it again at his destination.
Not so now. After arriving at Chek Lap Kok with a surfboard, too big to fit in a taxi but small enough for an airline to transport from Bali, I was confronted with a blank refusal from the driver of the A35 to even let me board the bus.
Even after attempting to explain that the cargo hold does open and could be used for the purpose that it was intended, the driver waved me off, feigning a complete lack of understanding.
This happened late in the evening and left me, understandably, fuming as I had no means of getting home to south Lantau.
After spending the night at the airport, I eventually obtained the services of a man with a van who helped me out of my plight.
I am writing this in the hope of a response from the Transport Department or the Airport Authority or even the New Lantau Bus Company, as to the policy of awarding franchises to airport bus operators who cannot transport bulky items of luggage.
Furthermore, I had no other option but to obtain the services of a non-franchised van, something which the Airport Authority warns against.
In summary, this was a ridiculous situation that could have been completely avoided had the airport bus provided the service that is intended.
Name and address supplied
Hong Kong Observatory staff have been acting in an unprofessional manner by announcing the hot weather warnings to the public.
They only informed the public of the expected high temperatures, which have not been extreme by our summer standard.
What they failed to do was tell the public of the heat index of the temperatures when combined with high humidity and perhaps the low air current.
The heat indices of the temperatures may soar to higher than 40 degrees Celsius and that is extremely dangerous, if not potentially life-threatening, to the elderly. Taxpayers pay a huge amount to the government and the weather scientists only give inferior service to the public. Please ask them to compare their service to their overseas counterparts.
Joseph Lee, division of clinical biochemistry, Queen Mary Hospital