Letters | Bus lanes, congestion charges alone won’t fix Hong Kong traffic woes
- Officials and bus companies need to take a deeper look at the public transport experience and how to incentivise more people to use it
Similar to how private car drivers are reimbursed for parking in a shopping centre following their purchases, shoppers who take public transport should also be reimbursed to further incentivise their use of public transport. In fact, this reimbursement could come from the congestion tax itself. It makes little sense why the greenest public transport user gets little to no reward.
The lack of reward for green passengers even manifests itself in a lack of regard for their personal safety. Passengers catching a bus on Sai Sha Road near Sai Kung must take their lives in their hands when crossing the road, but a traffic light-controlled pedestrian crossing would make taking the bus a much better and safer experience.
To ease traffic congestion, it is not enough to have bus lanes in tunnels. But with the addition of priority lanes for buses to all expressways, bus services as a whole could speed up and improve. For example, establish a priority lane for buses from Sheung Shui to the Lion Rock Tunnel, which should then continue on Waterloo Road, Princess Margaret Road and so on, all the way to the Hung Hom tunnel.
Similar to the present system – in which bus companies’ tunnel toll savings translate into subsidised bus fares – congestion charges should be used to subsidise bus and tram fares. Bus and tram passengers should be congratulated on saving the environment one ride at a time, but for now bus passengers are still very much second-class road users.
Neil Dunn, Kowloon Tong