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Letters

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 April, 2012, 12:00am

Express line to blame for fare increase

I agree with your correspondents who have objected to the MTR Corporation's proposed fare increase.

Any increase in fares has a major effect on Hongkongers having to deal with inflation.

Even though the MTR faces higher operating costs, it should not pass those costs on to passengers.

We are faced with fare increases on an almost annual basis even though the MTR makes huge profits from its property development, shopping malls and building management services.

Also, more visitors from the mainland are using the network. So the 5.4 per cent rise proposed for June cannot be justified.

I believe the increase is linked to the government being put under pressure by Beijing to construct the high-speed rail link to Guangzhou. It is supposed to cost HK$66.9 billion.

The project has little public support but it will go ahead in order to help the economy of the mainland and its express rail network.

Now some experts are suggesting that costs could rise ('Rail project runs risk of topping HK$66.9b budget', February 13). I would not be surprised to see a much larger bill for this project by the time it is completed. Of course, this would be reflected in higher fares for MTR passengers.

Also, because the Sha Tin-Central link was delayed, that infrastructure project is going to cost us much more than the original estimate and again it is passengers who end up paying for this.

This fare increase should be strongly opposed by the public and by legislators.

If we cave in, we will probably find future administrations agreeing to more express rail links with the mainland.

A. L. Nanik, Tsim Sha Tsui

Kai Tak should use electric buses

There has been a heated debate about the proposed construction of the Kai Tak monorail system and I agree with those who say that the HK$12 billion project would be a white elephant.

The construction cost is high and public bus operators estimate the monorail would be much more expensive than a network of electric buses. There are examples abroad of monorail systems not being used by large numbers of residents.

I am also opposed to suggestions that this line should be extended to the nearby areas of Kowloon City, San Po Kong and To Kwa Wan.

After this high-priced project has been paid for, the rate of return is estimated to be as low as 1per cent and it might not even cover operation and maintenance costs.

You have to ask if it is worth it and why it seems to be the preferred choice with officials.

The Development Bureau has said the monorail project will blend in better with the overall design of the revived Kai Tak area and that sunlight and wind blockage can also be avoided.

I appreciate officials recognising the importance of such issues, but the drawbacks of the monorail scheme cannot be ignored.

Opponents of electric buses and trams argue that they would cause traffic jams. However, I believe they will be as effective as the monorail and of course will cost less.

The government must consider all the relevant matters carefully before coming to a decision.

Kwok Nga-man, Sha Tin

Parents are not good role models

I agree with those who say that many young people in Hong Kong have become very impolite.

They seem incapable of using simple phrases such as 'excuse me' and 'thank you' and saying sorry when they have done something wrong.

I think this is the result of them often being spoiled by their doting parents and other relatives.

With the tendency nowadays for families to often have only one child, many parents can become overprotective.

These young people will grow up with poor communication skills and no knowledge of basic good manners.

I read about one survey which revealed that more than 60 per cent of parents questioned regretted not teaching their children to be polite and to deal with the obstacles and challenges they will face in life.

It is important for parents to be good role models and to teach their sons and daughters the correct way to behave.

I think schools also have a part to play in cultivating the right attitude among students.

Cannis Wong, Tsuen Wan

Lawmakers' snub was childish

Those legislators who snubbed chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying's invitation to dinner amazed me. They are a bunch of bad losers ('Empty seats at dinner date with Leung', April 13).

The candidate they backed lost the election and they should get over it. By refusing to attend this dinner, they acted like spoiled children.

They should accept what has happened and get back to work in the legislature. They are being paid to manage this city and should behave like adults.

Alexandre Koch, Happy Valley

No need to have smaller classes

Hong Kong's school system is not addressing all the needs of different communities.

It certainly falls down when it comes to providing an education for minority groups. Many schools will not accept children from ethnic minorities, saying they would not be able to cope with the kind of syllabus provided. Parents of these children say this state of affairs is tantamount to discrimination.

The government should ensure that all schools offer children from all sectors of society, including minority groups, a fair chance. Schools which fail to do this should face penalities.

Another hot education topic is class sizes. It would make no sense to have smaller classes. Teachers in Hong Kong now face a heavy workload and are under a lot of pressure. Reducing class sizes would put them under more pressure.

Also, if sizes are cut and there are therefore more classes, schools may be required to employ more teachers. This would place a heavy financial burden on schools, which might try to pass the cost on to parents in schools where fees are charged.

Schools boards and the government should work together to bring about improvements in the education system without cutting class sizes.

Tiffany Lee, Sha Tin

Hongkongers abroad lose right to vote

The report ('French in HK set to vote in tight election', April 22) reminded all Hong Kong people that voting while abroad is a privilege enjoyed by the French, but not by Hong Kong citizens.

The French government made the necessary arrangements so that some 6,000 citizens living in Hong Kong could vote in Sunday's presidential election. The same rule applies to Australians living abroad when there is a federal election.

Hong Kong has a number of representative offices around the world.

It is unfortunate that they have never been used as polling stations for citizens living abroad to cast their vote in elections taking place in Hong Kong. These permanent residents should not lose the right to vote.

A responsible government should ensure they can exercise their rights.

Some would argue that if they want to vote, they can come back when there is an election, but it is the government's duty to encourage and enable citizens to vote.

A high turnout is one indication that the authority has successfully managed the election.

Just because a Hong Kong citizen is living abroad it does not mean that that person has severed all connections with the city.

Laws passed and budgets that are approved by the legislature may have a direct impact on these people; the government's [HK$6,000] handout scheme is a case in point.

It would be unfair to them if they were not represented in the legislature simply because they could not make it back to the city to vote. The city's trade offices abroad could easily be used as polling stations.

Leung Ka-kit, Yau Tsim Mong

Water taxi could hurt ferry firms

Passenger volumes have been dropping on Hong Kong's various ferry routes over the last few years.

In 2010, ferry services' share of public transport usage was 1.2 per cent. I think this figure proves that a proposed water taxi service in Victoria Harbour would not be successful.

Such a service might initially prove to be popular because Hongkongers would see it as a novelty, but its appeal would wear off and many people would stop using it.

The international company that is interested in running this service would have to come up with lots of original promotions to tempt potential passengers.

I am also concerned that it could take business away from our established ferry firms.

Katherine Lai, Ma On Shan

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