Tai-tais and bosses must be stopped from causing such serious congestion

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 June, 2011, 12:00am


Finally, there is recognition of one of the primary reasons for traffic congestion in Central ('Bosses' cars blamed for clogging roads', May 28).

I live in Mid-Levels and see no need for a car, given the prevalence of cheap, clean and efficient public transport. But I do stand from 10 to 20 minutes in the lower section of Ice House Street once a day, waiting for a shuttle bus. Over the past four years, I have had ample time to observe traffic movement, or lack thereof, through this conduit road.

The two-lane road is intended to filter vehicles from the upper area of Wyndham Street, plus vehicles turning off Queen's Road to reach Chater and Connaught roads. But it is now a de facto single-lane street due to one lane being occupied by private cars with drivers and idling engines.

Delivery vehicles have problems entering the Landmark delivery car park because private cars back all the way into and past the commencement of double yellow lines. Buses find their route obstructed by incorrectly parked people movers. Into this bottleneck, only two or at best four vehicles may enter with every light change. I have also had time to observe that many of these vanity-plated private cars are not waiting for bosses, but for tai-tais with branded shopping.

Occasionally the police do come and move idlers on. And they issue tickets for vehicles left unattended. I have thanked them for their service. Sadly, one officer told me they are frequently subjected to verbal abuse by these drivers. Traffic wardens are never to be seen.

This is a ridiculous state of affairs, in a self-styled 'modern' city. That anyone, let alone a driver who is effectively breaking the law, be allowed to assume that the wealth of his boss places them, and by extension him, above the law, is shameful and archaic. Surely, such droit de seigneur behaviour would once have been vilified as 'colonial' favouritism.

Are there no closed-circuit TV cameras we could use to issue automatic fines for idling beyond the allowed drop-off? Should not the fines be big enough to give pause for thought? Could not these be swiftly and regularly applied, and the free flow of traffic resumed?

Or shall we just do nothing, shrug and admit favouritism rules Hong Kong?

Susannah Hirst, Mid-Levels