Disabled drivers demand more allowances

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 March, 2008, 12:00am

Disabled drivers are demanding the government give them more transport allowances, including free coupons for private tunnels and a higher monthly quota of tax-free fuel.

About 10 disabled drivers gathered at the MTR station in Kwai Hing before joining a car rally to the Central Government Offices, where they submitted a petition.

Disabled Drivers Association chairman Lau Kam-wing said they were disappointed the government had failed to help disabled drivers, despite the huge budget surplus.

The association proposed an increase in the monthly quota for tax-free fuel from 200 litres to 300, and an exemption from driving licence fees for disabled drivers of private cars with engines of up to 2,500cc.

'We also want to have free tickets for using tunnels that are privately owned, such as the Eastern Harbour Tunnel and Western Harbour Tunnel. The fees for these tunnels are so expensive and we can now only use the Cross-Harbour Tunnel in Hung Hom, but it is already very congested,' Mr Lau said.

Disabled drivers do not have to pay the annual driving licence fee if their engines are below 1,500cc. They receive 70 free tickets a month for government tunnels.

'But these measures have not been adjusted since they were introduced in the 1990s,' Mr Lau said. 'Since the government has a budget surplus, we demand the government amend some of the terms so that we can also benefit from the budget surplus and enjoy more concessions.

'Some disabled drivers avoid going out as they are worried that they might have to pay the oil tax if they use more than 200 litres a month. Fuel prices are so expensive now. Also, we want to buy bigger private cars with stronger horsepower so that we can carry our wheelchairs.'

Lawmaker Wong Kwok-hing said he would raise the issue in the Legislative Council.