Tramways loses HK$7.8 million revenue after being stopped in its tracks
Almost 4 million passengers lost after Occupy stops trams in their tracks
Hong Kong Tramways has urged pro-democracy demonstrators to release its occupied track in Causeway Bay, saying it had lost 3.9 million passengers and HK$7.8 million in revenue during the Occupy Central movement.
But Tramways managing director Emmanuel Vivant ducked a question on whether the company would follow Mong Kok transport operators in seeking court injunctions to have the road cleared.
"We are exploring our best options," he said. "At the moment, we are focused on addressing the situation and trying to deliver the best service."
Vivant said five of the company's six routes remained disrupted, with 50 trams on the eastern side unable to return to a main depot for maintenance.
"We have taken a proactive and sincere approach and tried to appeal to the protesters to lift the blockade," he said. "But we could not reach a consensus with the Causeway Bay protesters despite repeated discussions."
Tramways reached an agreement with Admiralty protesters to unblock the Queensway section, and services to Happy Valley resumed on October 14.
But it said the occupation of Yee Woo Street in Causeway Bay had left 50 vehicles unable to return to the main repair depot in Whitty Street, Western District.
Contingency measures introduced yesterday allow part of the maintenance work to be done at a secondary depot in Sai Wan Ho.
The measures include using crane-equipped trucks to transport tram bogies to the Whitty Street site for detailed maintenance before carrying them back to Sai Wan Ho for installation.
Senior engineering manager Steven Chan Shih-Yao said the company had prepared for the move for 10 days, and that the work cost about HK$200,000.
But four trams still stood idle as they were in need of major repairs that could be done only at the Whitty Street depot
Vivant said the company had lost up to 55,000 passengers a day since the Occupy movement started in late September.
Before its Admiralty section reopened, the company was losing 45 per cent of its passengers, but this had been trimmed to 25 per cent, he said.
"Hong Kong Tramways pledges that safety will not be compromised in its effort in maintaining the best possible services," its statement said.