Buses go-slow in border ban protest

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 June, 2007, 12:00am

About 30 non-franchised bus operators yesterday staged a slow-drive protest against the government's ban on operating at public transport interchanges when new border interchanges open next month.

The bus operators threatened to disrupt traffic at the two interchanges if the ban, which they said discriminated against them, was not lifted.

A government spokesman said there was no plan to relax the restriction because of a lack of space at the interchanges.

While pledging to review the situation regularly, the spokesman said any traffic arrangement related to cross-border flow was also subject to agreement with the Shenzhen authority.

'We understand that the Shenzhen authority will not let non-franchised buses operate at the crossing now. Without their corresponding co-ordination and services, it is inappropriate to allow these buses,' he said.

Under the government plan, only taxis, minibuses, franchised buses and cross-boundary buses will be allowed to pick up and unload passengers when the interchange at Shenzhen Western Corridor opens.

A similar arrangement will apply at a new Lok Ma Chau crossing interchange when the East Rail extension opens.

Aaron Yeung Wai-hung, chairman of the Public Omnibus Operators Association, said the arrangement was unfair.

'The taxis and minibuses are allowed, so why are we excluded?' he asked.

'The new border crossing mainly serves the interest of the tourists and we non-franchised coaches also serve tourists.'

Mr Yeung said they would not rule out more drastic action if their demand was not properly addressed.

About 30 coaches were driven from the Sha Tin race course to government headquarters in Central, where a group of 100 operators submitted a petition to a representative from the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau.