We all decry the worsening air pollution in Hong Kong. But we have overlooked a small but inexpensive measure which, if adopted, will immediately improve the air quality in the territory.
I refer to the mandatory use of the Autopass at all our toll-booths in our cross-harbour and other tunnels.
At the moment, only a small percentage of vehicles are Autopass-equipped, the rest resist the payment of the $30 monthly administration fee for the Autopass. But I, for one, fail to see why the use of the Autopass should be considered a privilege.
There is no moral or even economic justification for the amount of pollutants that are spewed into the air by the stop-and-go motions of tens of thousands of vehicles at these toll-booths, each and every day, especially during rush hours. The manual payment at toll-booths is wasteful of both fuel and time and compounds the daily gridlock. By eliminating manual payment, not only will the air become cleaner, the traffic will also move along faster and traffic flow will be smoother. Less pressure will be put on drivers' nerves.
If the Octopus card can be made available to the public without an administration fee, I don't see why the Autopass cannot operate on the same principle. After all, the toll operators will stand to gain financially by the elimination of the need to man these booths. For the sake of cleaner air, better traffic flow and a happier driving public, get rid of toll-booth manual payment now, even if the Government has to subsidise this measure. Believe me, this small administrative adjustment is the environmentally-correct thing to do and will be beneficial to all concerned, toll operators included.
Tsim Sha Tsui