Letters to the Editor, March 11, 2014

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 March, 2014, 4:37am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 March, 2014, 4:37am

More than 1,300 train trips added

I refer to the letters by David Tang ("Back-to-front travellers can ease squeeze", March 2) and Darren Tang ("Removing seats from MTR bad idea", March 4).

First of all, I would like to restate that the MTR Corporation always strives to provide passengers with safe, reliable and comfortable journeys. With regard to the suggestion on changing the seating arrangement, this is just one of the many options to be explored.

The public may rest assured that we will carefully study all the options having regard to passengers' opinions, practicability and effectiveness. As for seating arrangements, it is not feasible to remove a large number of seats and we understand public views on the matter.

We have been looking at different ways to ease the crowding situation in the railway network. As part of our Listening/Responding programme, more than 1,300 train trips a week have been added throughout the network since 2012 and we will continue to seek to enhance train frequency where possible. For example, we are planning to add more train trips to the Tseung Kwan O Line to relieve the situation on the Yau Tong to Quarry Bay section.

Due to signalling constraints, the adjustment will entail a change of train service pattern from the existing three trains from Po Lam station followed by one from Lohas Park station to two from Po Lam followed by one from Lohas Park while maintaining the 18 train trips from Po Lam per hour. Meanwhile, we are deploying more platform assistants to facilitate smooth passenger flow. New queuing arrangements will also be implemented at appropriate stations to make boarding and alighting more efficient.

Furthermore, we are also exploring incentives to encourage passengers to travel outside the morning peak period.

Kendrew Wong media relations manager, MTR Corporation


Most people behave very well on MTR

I refer to Maggie Leung's letter ("Cut selfishness to ease MTR overcrowding", March 8).

I would like to say that I don't believe it is selfishness on the part of the people who like to stay near the doors. I think it is a genuine concern that they might not be able to push their way off the train at their stop if they are jammed in the centre of a compartment.

The majority of people behave extremely well in very unpleasant circumstances. Travelling on the MTR at peak times is a nightmare and I can quite understand if some people want to play games, text or watch movies on their phones to escape into their own world.

I would also like to say that the constant announcements asking people to "move away from the doors" are really annoying as quite often there is literally nowhere to move to.

Janis Booth, Tin Hau


Let CY get on with doing a difficult job

I am amazed how many useless politicians out there are simply waiting for any official or Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to make any speech in public and then try their best to find their counter-arguments with one sole purpose of getting their names in the media.

It is a no brainer to anyone that Hong Kong has not enough land.

The development of more lands in the New Territories plus practices like land reclamation that Hong Kong has utilised in the past have been brought to a complete standstill for the sake of politicians opposing the government.

We have millions of people living in spaces, which, by any international standard, are tiny, and I have not heard of any productive proposals from these politicians except waiting for their chance to throw objects at officials.

Singapore continues to create a bigger cake for its citizens by importing labour, including world-class professionals and doctors, completing another new runway at Changi Airport and creating more room for future generations through land reclamation.

Hong Kong as a community has acted like primary school children misbehaving in class while the teacher is out of the room.

We finally have a chief executive who has the vision and determination to do the right things even though he has to face low-taste opponents who appear to be intent on trying to humiliate public figures in Hong Kong.

I would say to the chief executive to keep up the good work. Those residents who make up the silent majority are behind him and his team.

S. Yam, North Point


We must defend free speech

Many people joined the rally on March 2 in defence of press freedom, in response to the attack on the former chief editor of Ming Pao Kevin Lau Chun-to.

Clearly, Hong Kong citizens are angry that this freedom is under pressure.

I think Hong Kong people must not allow such freedom of expression to be compromised. We must continue to stand up for our rights.

It was therefore important for as many people as possible to attend the rally and make their views known.

We should reject any government initiatives that discourage people from being critical of the central government. We should stand firm in the face of any threats whoever makes them.

We must continue to press for freedom of speech to be maintained in Hong Kong and respected by all officials.

Natalie Fong Wing-yin, Tseung Kwan O


Let hawkers stay in business

Last month, lovers of snacks from food stalls were angry over a vendor in Mong Kok only selling fishballs in a container rather than on a stick.

Others came to the defence of the vendor, saying he had to deal with the rising costs of food and rent. Also, the government has stopped issuing licences to hawkers. Those hawkers who are left struggle to survive. If they sell their snacks in larger quantities they will get bigger returns.

I think it is time for the government to have a rethink about its licence policy. These hawkers continue to be popular with locals and tourists.

It should allow them to continue to sell cooked food at designated places.

This is a win-win situation. They can continue to earn a living and local people can enjoy the food they remember eating years ago.

Natalie Ko, Cheung Sha Wan


City will need to build incinerator

Hong Kong's municipal solid waste problem has been getting worse over the past few years, with more of the waste being dumped in landfills.

The government is considering a waste charge scheme. It appears a quick fix, but is not an effective, long-term solution.

If it was extended to companies, it could cause problems for small and medium-sized enterprises that are already suffering thanks to the introduction of the statutory minimum wage and high rents. If they had to pay charges for the removal of waste, they would face an even heavier financial burden.

It would also hit low-income households. And it would be difficult to come up with a sum that would ensure they did not suffer financially. They might generate quite a lot of waste because sometimes they can only afford fast food which comes in wrappings and containers.

I think the best long-term solution to deal with this problem is to build an incinerator. It can reduce waste levels and could be used to generate electricity. Incinerators have proved to be very successful in developed countries such as Denmark, Sweden and Japan.

It is up to the government to allay people's fears about possible pollution and explain that in European countries they are accepted and provide a clean solution to waste reduction.

But incinerators alone will not solve our problems. The government must also encourage people to recycle more and offer rewards each month for people who recycle large volumes of waste.

It must also ensure that there are enough recycling bins and that they are kept clean.

I do not think Hong Kong's municipal solid waste problem can be solved without an integrated policy that combines incineration with recycling. If current trends continue the city will be drowned in tonnes of waste and things will get worse as landfills near capacity.

Orion Kong, Ma On Shan


Bad air pollution nothing new

Readers of recent reports in your paper on the air quality in the capital may be interested in the following diary entry for January 11, 1890, of the imperial ambassador in London, Xue Fucheng (in translation): "This afternoon I sailed across the Channel to France. London has been enveloped in dense fog for the past two months, and the city is in almost total darkness, even in the day-time. Tens of thousands of people suffer from coughing spells. I am not accustomed to such a climate and was anxious to leave.

"In London this morning, the sky was covered with a thick cloud of fog, but as soon as we journeyed some 10 miles away from the city, it cleared up, with not a cloud remaining in the sky."

P. Kevin MacKeown, Lantau