PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 August, 2008, 12:00am

What do you think of the ban idling engines?

I am responding to the claim [made by a union representative] that overheated vehicles could become time bombs ('Heatstroke fear cited in campaign against idling ban', July 31). Idling engines are already time bombs for every man, woman and child pedestrian. Also, how about the people who have to live and work near these vehicles? In Arran Street, Mong Kok (and other places) the engines of the coaches to the mainland are constantly idling, even if there are no passengers or drivers inside. How about the people working near these vehicles? The nearby 7-Eleven does not have a door and is open to the elements. What about the health of the young people working there and the newspaper vendors and other workers? The next generation is going to have terrible health problems if this problem is not addressed and we do not see drastic improvements. We have had enough of the debates and time-wasting discussions. We need action now.

Suzanne Chung, Mong Kok

To reduce levels of air pollution in the city, the government has proposed a number of methods to solve the problem, including banning idling engines. However, this well-intentioned proposal does not take into account the real situation. For example, taxi drivers would have to restart the engines of their vehicles several times a day if idling engines were banned. This would drain their batteries. Also on a hot summer's day, the temperature inside vehicles will rise to 40 degrees Celsius within minutes if the air conditioning has been turned off ('Heatstroke fear cited in campaign against idling ban', July 31). This makes drivers and passengers very uncomfortable when they are left sitting in the vehicles. I think it is possible to have a win-win result, by adopting a flexible policy. Vehicles would be allowed to keep their air conditioners running during hot summer days. Also, some cars, such as taxis, could be excluded from the legislation if their engines are idling for short periods. By adopting this approach we could see an improvement in air quality and still ensure a comfortable working environment for drivers.

I. K. Li, Ngau Chi Wan

What do you think of the proposed taxi fare rise?

I refer to the report ('HK$2 rise in taxi flag fall a step closer', August 1).

With the previous HK$1 rise, it represents a HK$3 dollar rise from a base rate of HK$15, or a 20 per cent rise in a year. This is bureaucratic meddling and highly inflationary. It comes at a time when oil prices are falling, the economy is weakening and demand for business is falling. Taxi drivers are going to bear the brunt. Can we at least spread it out over three years?

Sam Chow, Tsim Sha Tsui

What did you think of this year's book fair?

The annual book fair was very successful this year. Visitor numbers were up 8.7 per cent. There were two special guests - a group of visitors from the mainland and a group from Tin Shui Wai. Seeing the coming of mainland visitors, we should be proud of the freedom of speech that we enjoy that allows people with different views to express their opinions and allows all kinds of books to be made available, including books on controversial subjects. I think this freedom of speech makes us a very special region. Young people from Tin Shui Wai got in for free and were given some book coupons. I hope these young people from the 'city of sadness', learned something from their visit to the fair. I hope they can appreciate what they can gain from books and realise that knowledge is power. Hopefully, they will come to learn that their fate is in their own hands. The book fair was a great event for the city. I hope it will be more successful next year.

Lo King-hang, Kwai Chung

What do you think of the standard of road safety?

I would like to thank G.Marques (Talkback, July 30), for the explanation regarding the exiting of roundabouts.

I looked up the Transport Department's website and with a 6 o'clock entry and 12 o'clock exit they advise to approach in the left (outer) lane and to keep to that lane. 'If safe, you may approach in the right-hand lane and keep in that lane in the roundabout'. Only for the 6 o'clock entry and 3 o'clock exit they show you can exit from the inner lane and mention specifically 'if safe to do so you may also follow the path by the broken line' Next they say 'when in a roundabout, look out for and show consideration to other vehicles crossing in front of you, especially those intending to leave by the next exit'.

Nowhere does it say that the outer lane must give way to the inner lane. It sounds to me also more logical if one is in the inner lane, get in the outer lane in time to exit. This will prevent a lot of accidents and looking at the 6 o'clock entry 12 o'clock exit rule of the Transport Department, is the proper way to go about things. Please also note that at several roundabouts there is an uninterrupted line near the exit so that vehicles from the inner lane cannot exit at the last moment at that point but are forced to get in lane in time. It might be wise to do that at all roundabouts to prevent more accidents.

Jeffry Kuperus, Clear Water Bay