New bill in the works to allow Peak Tram to continue
A bill to allow the Peak Tram to continue operating for at least two more years will be gazetted tomorrow, after it was discovered the law governing its right to run had been misinterpreted.
The bill will be discussed in the Legislative Council next month. The century-old tram system's current 10-year operating right, which was granted by the government in 2003, will expire by the end of the year.
It was initially thought that the Peak Tramway Ordinance would allow an extension to its right to run as long as the company wished to do so, paid for it, and the government approved it.
But a recent review found that the ordinance was in fact a one-off consent, and the law would have to be amended to allow the government to extend the tram system's operating right or to grant one anew.
The government was proposing a two-year interim operating period, during which it would study the long-term arrangements for the company's operating right and assess the feasibility of its upgrading plan. The company planned to buy new cars, which would increase capacity by more than 60 per cent, improve its terminuses, and replace the track rails. The Peak Tram has run from Garden Road to The Peak for 125 years.
"In proposing to amend the ordinance to empower the Chief Executive in Council to grant a two-year interim operating right to the company, the government has assessed carefully and is satisfied with the company's safety and service performance," a government spokesman said yesterday.