Letters to the Editor, September 16, 2015

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 September, 2015, 4:01pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 September, 2015, 4:01pm

Time to scrap nannying MTR message

I refer to the letter from Vincent Chow, on behalf of the director of the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department ("Standing still effective way to prevent escalator accidents", September 14).

While the department staff are undoubtedly experts on the procurement, installation and maintenance of escalators, the department's qualification to pontificate on the use of escalators is questionable.

Where is the evidence that escalators are not designed to be walked on? While Mr Chow is right to state that the cause of escalator accidents is due to inappropriate behaviour by users, this is mainly due to people using mobile phones, carrying heavy baggage and not supervising children properly rather than walking.

The practice of standing on the right and walking on the left has been in place for more than 100 years in some countries and is the practice in Hong Kong.

To say that walking results in accidents, so stand still to prevent accidents, is like telling people not to cross the road as you may get run over.

The department and MTR Corporation should halt these irritating, nannying messages and accept that many thousands of travellers (including me) will continue to walk on the left and stand on the right.

They should concentrate on advising people to do this, and to refrain from using their mobile phones and carrying heavy baggage on escalators.

Finally, there are just too many irritating, nannying and unnecessary messages being trotted out by government departments in Hong Kong.

A review to ensure that only important messages are broadcast is necessary.

Eric Taylor, Sai Kung

Walking has no bearing on accidents

I refer to the letter from Vincent Chow, for the director of electrical and mechanical services ("Standing still effective way to prevent escalator accidents", September 14).

While it is welcome news that the number of escalator accidents has declined by 30 per cent between 2008 and 2014, no evidence is presented by Mr Chow that this has anything to do with standing still on escalators.

As a regular MTR user since it started operations, I have not seen any change in the habits of passengers in regard to walking or standing still on escalators.

Accordingly, unless evidence can be presented to the contrary, it would appear walking on escalators in itself has no direct bearing on the accident rate.

Additionally, the MTR does not have a monopoly of escalators in Hong Kong, but I have never heard of other operators (such as shopping malls) making any issue of whether escalator users should or should not walk.

Presumably they have more pressing issues to deal with rather than worrying about an unsubstantiated safety concern?

Doug Miller, Tai Po 

Backing Xi's call for peace at parade

China celebrated the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender at the end of the second world war, with a parade in Beijing on September 3.

Citizens could look back to the struggle before and during the war against Japanese aggression in China, which finally ended with the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In his speech at the parade, President Xi Jinping stressed the importance of ensuring peace to prevent the devastation caused by war ("China will be guarantor of post-war peace: Xi", September 4).

It was interesting that many world leaders who were invited to the parade chose not to attend it. I wonder what they were thinking when they watched the parade on TV.

I think the president made important points in his speech about war, about the need to try and prevent it and about how precious peace is.

This victory day parade reminded us of the devastation the conflict caused in China, with millions of lives lost and millions more made homeless. It was a miserable time in the nation's history.

I do not think anyone gains from conflicts. Even though there are winners and losers, there are generally dreadful losses on both sides and everyone pays a heavy price.

Benny Wong, Tseung Kwan O

Taxi drivers really need the competition

In the letter "Uber simply offers a better service" (September 2), Sandy Chan Lap-kiu referred to car-hailing app Uber's advantages over local taxis and said things could be even better if both parties cooperated with each other.

There is no doubt Uber offers a better service than taxis. It is more convenient when it comes to booking and payment and the drivers are more polite.

They have better-quality cars and therefore you have a more comfortable journey.

Uber invites customers to make comments and give ratings. These features are designed to ensure Uber is responsive to customers' comments and can make the necessary improvements.

It is a good incentive for their drivers to keep trying to improve.

I am not sure if the suggestion that the two sides could work together is feasible.

Taxi operators in Hong Kong have had a monopoly for so long that many have got used to providing a poor service, with some even overcharging. Consequently, the quality of their services has declined.

Competition is good and it can make an operator implement improvements. It would be better for consumers for Uber and the taxi operators to be in competition rather than for them to work together.

Uber appears to have experienced licensing and insurance problems, but it should be a relatively simple process to sort out these problems.

If there is more competition in this sector, then hopefully local taxi operators will become more aware of the need to provide customers with better services.

Kelvin Lam, Ma On Shan

Instil positive attitude with education

I refer to the report "Suicides on the rise among young Hongkongers" (September 10).

More of them are taking their lives because of housing problems, a lack of social mobility and a negative perception of young people in society.

It is clear that more education and the right kind of guidance are needed to help youngsters counter these negative perceptions.

The government also needs to recognise that its role is important and it must provide more flats for Hongkongers.

Summer Cheng, Tseung Kwan O

Broadband service poor in Sai Kung

It was great to see the issue of poor broadband speeds and service in the outlying islands being recognised in the report ("Islands stuck in online dark ages", September 14).

The issue is not just in the outlying islands, however, with speeds across parts of the New Territories and in all of Sai Kung only a maximum of 6.75 megabits per second, too slow to use most applications like YouTube or Apple TV. When it rains, the service in Sai Kung often stops altogether.

How can this be in a city that prides itself on amazingly fast internet? Hundreds of thousands of people living outside the major urban areas get broadband at lower speeds than much of Africa.

What's worse, there is only one provider in these areas and they charge more for feeble speed and service than they do those people living in town with far higher speeds.

Richard Watt, Sai Kung