Operator should refit trams and revise routes to boost usage

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 August, 2010, 12:00am

Hong Kong Tramways operates the cheapest form of public transport in the city and has not raised tram fares for 12 years.

Now it wants an increase of 50 cents so it can introduce various upgrades.

I have a number of ideas about what improvements I would like to see.

First of all, there should be greater frequency on some routes. There are certainly problems with frequency, with the trams running in the northern part of Hong Kong Island where the traffic sometimes appears to be one way.

On one occasion, I was waiting to catch a tram from Wan Chai to Causeway Bay, but all I saw were trams bound for Western district.

I think the longer journeys have to be broken down into smaller loops.

For busy areas like Causeway Bay and Wan Chai, additional trams should be provided.

If trams are more frequent, Hong Kong Tramways' revenue will increase.

With more trams on busy routes, the operator can attract a greater number of advertisers who will appreciate the high-profile presentations available to them.

I would also like to see air-conditioning on the upper deck, given that our summers are getting hotter.

On a sunny day, travelling on a tram can be an uncomfortable experience.

However, I know some passengers prefer the fresh air blowing through the windows, which is why air-cons should be restricted to the upper deck, giving people a choice.

The other option would be to have some trams which are all-air-conditioned and some which are not, again offering passengers a choice.

If there is some air-conditioning, I am sure the operator will see an increase in patronage as people will appreciate the added comfort with the promise of a cooler trip.

The fare rise could also finance a mechanical upgrade of the trams to increase their speed.

This will be a real advantage in busy districts on Hong Kong Island such as Causeway Bay and Wan Chai.

This city moves at a fast pace and trams have to reflect that.

If they are faster they can increase their carrying capacity and this will inevitably boost the operators' profits.

There are constant technological changes and improvements to transport systems.

Hong Kong Tramways has to respond to these changes if it wants to remain competitive.

I really hope that with increased fares, we will see a better service.

Tang Chi-chung, Tsz Wan Shan