Why Hong Kong should take the Singapore route to tackling the rising number of private cars
- More private cars means more congestion and longer journey times, which might prompt public bus operators to allocate more vehicles to the same route
I am writing in response to the article “Hong Kong urged to control rising car numbers and traffic congestion with cohesive transport policies” (November 17).
The number of private cars in Hong Kong has been increasing rapidly – between 2008 and 2017, it went up by 48 per cent, taking traffic congestion to unprecedented levels. The government should take action before the situation spirals out of control.
The car growth rate is unsustainable, as Hong Kong is a tiny place with a large population. We are short of land, with the growing number of private cars putting our roads under great pressure. This will affect public transport in the long term.
Although Hong Kong regularly takes first place in global rankings of public transport services, it will be difficult to maintain that lead. The large number of private cars creates a vicious circle. More cars on the road means more congestion and therefore longer journey times. In turn, bus and minibus operators may have to devote more vehicles and drivers to the same route. Thus, the number of private cars on the roads affects other aspects of the transport system.
The government should provide more incentives to encourage people to use public transport. Besides adjusting the tunnel tolls, it should implement restrictions on car licences, and a road-pricing scheme.
In Singapore, motorists are charged automatically when they use specific roads during peak times. This discourages people from taking a private car out or buying a new car. Hong Kong could follow similar measures to ease congestion and discourage the purchase of private cars.
Peco Mak, Tseung Kwan O
Hong Kong traffic chaos requires action, not more studies
In reference to David Vetter’s excellent article on the need for Hong Kong to control rising car numbers, I would like to point out that the solutions to containing rising car numbers are obvious, proven, and best practices have successfully been applied in places such as Singapore, as the article highlights. There is no need for further studies; it is time to act.
If Carrie Lam’s government had any plans to alleviate this problem, she would have pushed for the immediate implementation of these proven measures as part of the 2018 policy address. Unfortunately, it seems that Lam is more interested in pie-in-the-sky “belt and road”-type projects that will offer little benefit to Hongkongers.
J.C. Clement, Jordan