Why are traffic police in Hong Kong not jumping on parking offenders?

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 March, 2017, 4:30pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 March, 2017, 11:11pm

Certain streets in Hong Kong have become notorious for illegal parking, not just obvious locations such as Chater Road in Central but, for example, Drake Street in Admiralty.

This would not matter so much if vehicles, parked illegally and sometimes even minus drivers, were not causing traffic problems, blocked carriageways and consequent tailbacks.

In Admiralty, the illegal occupation of all kerbside space means that other vehicles then park alongside those occupying the kerbside, completely blocking the entire road. Shuttle buses that need to stop at designated kerbside points often cannot get past the line of stationary vehicles without crossing a double white line.

On Hennessy Road in Wan Chai we see China Travel Service coaches stopping in the middle lane adjacent to hotels to let passengers embark with their luggage, causing considerable tailbacks of buses. Across Hennessy Road, at most times of the day, you see coaches parked two abreast outside the China Travel office, leaving only one lane for moving vehicles.

Last month, there was a remarkable incident where three bus drivers received summonses from the police for letting bus passengers alight a few metres short of the designated bus stop adjacent to Jardine House because the stopping point itself was occupied. In fact, this bus stop is frequently used by taxis which illegally stop or park there and at other busy bus stops, for example in Causeway Bay, which inhibits bus access.

This is compounded by the fact that rows of designated bus stops in certain busy locations are so full that there are often queues of buses waiting in line to drop off and pick up passengers. The above counterproductive incident seems to have apparently targeted the victims rather than the culprits, and led to bus firms taking industrial action.

Over the past 10 years, the government issue of private vehicle licences has increased more than 30 per cent and this is, rather unsurprisingly, creating large amounts of traffic on urban roads, and further constraints on both surface transport and pedestrian movement.

Isn’t it about time that some common sense was applied, particularly towards illegally parked vehicles? If anything, the situation is going from bad to worse. Even one police officer walking regularly around such urban districts as Central, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay, in full view of parked drivers, could deter illegal parking.

If traffic police are tasked with enforcing illegal parking, then where are they?

Peter Cookson Smith, Mid-Levels