Take Action!

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 January, 2008, 12:00am

The column for anyone fed up with bureaucracy, frustrated with delays or furious with poor service. Tell us your complaint and we'll try to fix it ...

Philip Richards of Sheung Wan wrote to urge Shun Tak-China Travel Ship Management to improve the advance ticket booking service for TurboJET and take efficient measures to curb ticket touts.

'I have two complaints based on my recent negative experiences when trying to purchase advance tickets in person at the Shun Tak Centre.

'First, a few weeks ago when trying to buy an advance ticket, I mistakenly went to the wrong counter, No8, and was redirected to the correct Advance Booking window. This was near 5pm. Then when correctly lining up there, an employee came along and tried to redirect me and other customers back to counter No8. Obviously, this makes no sense and is a frustrating waste of time for potential future passengers like myself.

'Second, today, December 15, I lined up at the correct Advance Booking window at 10.10am. This time there were only three customers in front of me, yet it took 20 minutes of waiting until it was my turn to be served, with only one window and one employee providing service.

'It is obvious from the above that the company needs to open more Advance Booking windows. Also they need to allow more than three days advance booking in person. Do not suggest that I book online.

'Also, another related issue is the illegal ticket touts. There are frequent times where people are standing at the lines at the ticket counters loudly announcing that they have tickets for private sale. Obviously, your existing ticket sale system is so inefficient and frustrating that these touts can make an illegal living right under your noses.

'After such poor service at their sales counter, I would consider buying from a tout. After all, why should Shun Tak care? They have sold their tickets and get full ferries. 'I can only conclude that these are examples of why TurboJET should not be granted a monopoly and that the market should be opened to more competition such as the Cotai ferry.

A spokesman for Shun Tak-China Travel Ship Management Limited said the company had endeavoured to expand its services to keep pace with the surge in visitors' demand. In addition to the web/WAP booking services, passengers could use the newly introduced stored-value card to purchase tickets from the automatic ticket dispensing machines located at both entrances of the terminal. 'It will considerably minimise waiting time at the Advanced Booking counters where our service representatives may be occupied with less straightforward inquiries,' he said.

In addition, advance tickets are available at Shun Tak Travel at Shop B12, Shun Tak Centre, and at more than 48 China Travel Services outlets in Hong Kong, he said. 'We would also like to clarify that TurboJET offers a 28-day advance booking policy throughout the year, whereby customers will be able to plan ahead in securing their preferred sailings,' he said. 'Through our solid sales network and convenient products, we are committed to fight against ticket touts and hope that you will be able to join us in our efforts.'

A reader, who identified himself only as Leo, has been living at the Pacific Palisades in North Point for nine years. Recently he found he could hear barking on the dog-free estate. He said he complained to Sino Estate Management, which is in charge of the estate, but it had failed to solve the problem.

'I'd like to complain about irregularities happening in the management of our estate. I have been living in Pacific Palisades for more than nine years and I have been experiencing extensive trouble with our housing management office.

'For instance, this is a no-dog housing estate, but it has long been a problem to many of the residents. The housing management office did not take effective measures in handling and eradicating the existence of such a problem. We have been putting up with barking every day.'

Sino Estates Management clarified that Pacific Palisades was actually not a dog-free estate, according to the estate's Deed of Mutual Covenant. Estate residents must obtain consent from the manager of the property before keeping a dog in any flat.

'We may only give dog-raising consent to those who would like to take responsible measures to minimise the disturbance that may be caused by their dogs,' a spokeswoman said. 'However, when it is necessary to revoke the consent if a dog owner breaks our rules, we will send him or her a warning letter, or even start legal proceedings,' she said, adding that only a few families had dogs on the estate and all had obtained consent.