Ferry firm plans crowd control as thousands bid pier farewell The Star Ferry plans to impose special crowd control measures, such as distributing quota coupons, late tomorrow because it expects thousands of people to rush to bid farewell to the doomed 48-year-old Central pier. The managing director of the ferry company, Frankie Yick Chi-ming, yesterday urged people who want to take a last nostalgic journey from the pier to catch the early sailings. The final sailing to Tsim Sha Tsui, on the stroke of midnight, is reserved for the holders of special tickets. 'We will be working closely with the police and impose crowd control measures when needed,' Mr Yick said. 'For those who want to bid farewell to the pier, we highly recommend earlier sailings in the morning and early afternoon to avoid disappointment due to overwhelming demand.' Under crowd control measures to start as early as 10.30pm tomorrow, all passengers will be required to board immediately on entering the pier and no waiting will be allowed. Passengers will also have to leave the pier area immediately after disembarking. The pier will be closed once the number of passengers for the 11.30pm trip has reached 500. For the midnight sailing, four ferries will carry 1,800 passengers who have paid the HK$88 price for the last ride. Mr Yick reminded passengers with the special ticket to arrive at Edinburgh Place no later than the time specified on the ticket, otherwise they might not be able to get on board. The special tickets sold out within three hours of going on sale two weeks ago. Ferries between Central, Tsim Sha Tsui and Hung Hom will start using the new pier, 10 minutes' walk west of the existing one, on Sunday morning. The government will demolish the Star Ferry Pier and adjacent Queen's Pier as soon as early next year to make way for a road and a shopping mall. Construction workers were busy working on the new pier yesterday preparing for its first day of operation. Mr Yick said 80 per cent of the shops, such as convenience stores and cafes, on the pier's concourse would be ready to serve passengers on the first day. But the public viewing decks and the fine-dining restaurants will not be ready until early next year.