Acquisition

Talkback

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 April, 2009, 12:00am

What do you think of the Tramways deal?

Hong Kong people have been travelling on trams for more than 100 years.

I have no objection to Veolia Transport owning a 50 per cent stake in the business, as long as it promises to preserve the traditional character of the trams, in particular, their appearance, unique design and the service provided.

I do not think selling a 50 per cent share in the business implies the people running the trams were doing a poor job. For example, last year, Hong Kong Tramways made HK$50 million in advertising revenue.

However, nothing is perfect and I think we will see an improvement with the involvement of Veolia.

Suki So, Ma On Shan

Some critics have said the trams are outdated. While the trams are part of our collective memory, I think introducing new features for the tram system is a good idea.

Veolia Transport seems to be very enthusiastic about purchasing a 50 per cent stake in the business.

There are more advanced traffic systems. So if there is no modernisation of the fleet, it will probably not have much of a future.

With this new business arrangement, I am confident that our tram culture will be preserved into the future.

Johnny Chiu, Sha Tin

I support Hong Kong Tramways' new deal. I think it will enhance development of this traditional form of transport.

The French company Veolia Transport has a lot of management experience and I think there will be fresh hope in the tram service's future.

Some people were concerned the new deal would mean higher fares, but Veolia says it has no plans to raise fares.

I do not see any negative impact in Veolia's purchase of a 50 per cent stake in the business. I think Hong Kong's trams face a bright future.

Ng Mei-wun, Sha Tin

The trams have been operating for more than 100 years and form part of Hongkongers' collective memory.

I would not like to see the appearance of the trams changed; I think they leave a deep impression on tourists. Therefore, the features of the trams that make them unique should not change, and the price should remain the same.

Jonathan Mak Ka-long, Sha Tin

What do you think of plans to widen Hiram's Highway?

I refer to the letter from Germain Ma (Talkback, March 24), who said widening the highway was 'the best way to minimise the number of accidents that occur on this road'.

Your correspondent was incorrect to state that there would be less congestion and that traffic flow could improve. The simple fact is that there will be more congestion and more cars on the road.

Regarding claims that there would be less congestion, there is no congestion on the highway; the congestion is in Sai Kung, because there are too many cars.

The proposal to widen Hiram's Highway is another useless government initiative to continue to make money from taxpayers, whatever the sacrifice.

If less money is allocated, there are fewer projects, which means fewer jobs within government departments.

Something that has not been mentioned yet is that Hiram's Highway was recently narrowed. I would like to know why this was done. It is absolute nonsense. The government should answer the questions that have been asked about this widening project. It should show its hand.

Furthermore, accidents generally occur due to driver ineptness and their inability to focus properly when driving, and not due to road conditions (unless very extreme weather conditions are brought into the equation).

Andrew Maxwell, Sai Kung

On other matters...

I have a tip for companies: take action on customer feedback and mean what you say when you claim to be committed to mitigating your impact on the environment.

I recently received my third fake promotional plastic credit card from Cathay Pacific and American Express, which I could do nothing with but throw in the garbage.

It seems I receive one every three months, which must be something to do with their direct-marketing cycle.

The hard plastic embossed cards come in excessive packaging, which also ends up in the bin.

Thousands of these cards must have been sent out, placing further stress on Hong Kong's already-critical landfill problem. The promotion would also increase the companies' carbon footprint during the production of all this material.

According to the Environmental Protection Department, Hong Kong will run out of landfill in the early to mid part of the next decade if waste levels continue to rise at current levels.

Retailers joining the 'no plastic bag' campaign are an example of companies trying to stop Hong Kong from becoming the next Naples.

It thoroughly annoyed me when I received the first card, but I said nothing.

The second time, I could not help myself. I wrote to Cathay Pacific and American Express, specifically to the two individuals whose names proudly appeared on each mailing.

Among the feedback, I wrote: 'Think of preserving the environment; think of the damage you do to your brand in the minds of the majority of citizens who care about sustainability issues; think of the hypocrisy in espousing [corporate social responsibility] programmes and then marketing with means such as you have; and think about saving money for your companies.'

To this I received a generic reply: 'Your feedback is very important as we consider the environmental impact of all our operations.'

Amazingly, I was then sent yet another card, taking the tally to three. Is my feedback really 'very important' and do they really consider the environment?

If companies say they engage with their stakeholders and consider the environment, they should do it.

Chris Knop, Central