Peak hour congestion

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 November, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 November, 1994, 12:00am

IT is not just the numbers of cars on Hong Kong roads that matters, but when and how people use them. Each morning I wait for the 260 bus at Shouson Hill, the last stop before the entrance to the Aberdeen Tunnel.

To amuse myself - small things amuse - between erratic bus arrivals I have taking to assessing the status of cars heading through the tunnel at peak hours.

On my present reckoning, more than 80 per cent of the sedans entering the tunnel area in the morning peak hour have only one person in them - the driver.

Some of them know me and hide their faces as they go by, but that's another matter.

Inevitably, the tunnel entrance becomes choked with vehicles attempting to enter from around 7.30 am to 9 am.

Quite a few official government cars also enter the tunnel area with just the driver and one passenger.

Why do these drivers do this? Because they have cars for one thing, and company provided ones, too, I will wager.

Because they have parking places provided at or near their place of employment, probably again provided at company expense.

Because the tunnel toll is so cheap, even for a one-person vehicle and probably goes on expenses in any case.

The solution is to make it all more expensive by dissuading the provision of corporate cars for private motoring, discouraging the 'perk' of company provided car spaces in Central and other commercial areas (or by raising the cost of car parks for such all-day parking to prohibitive levels) and raising the tunnel toll (perhaps even charging much, much more for driver-only personal transportation).

Something, of course, would have to be done about those trying to escape the toll by 'going over the top'.

Such moves would brighten the balance sheets of CMB and Citybus; make my journey to and from work all the more agreeable and quicker; and relieve me of the mental exercise of doing my early morning vehicle count.

In the meantime, the privileged of Island South and beyond might like to consider car pooling.

They could start by collecting myself and my wife at the 260 bus stop. I am the one with the bald head, moustache and glasses.

IAN PERKIN Shouson Hill