The New Lantao Bus Co (NLB) is considering a trial of double decker buses on South Lantau to cope with an expected spike in population
Deputy general manager Benny Chan said the company was in discussion with the Transport Dept on testing two-decked vehicles on the 3M route between Tung Chung and Mui Wo.
He said the plan was still in its early stages, and no timetable has been set. If it does go ahead, he said most likely it would be divided into two phases – first on Tung Chung Rd only and then on South Lantau Rd. Continue reading
Highlights from submission to the Development Bureau (full submission here).
No Vision, No Data, No Conservation
The decision-making process on Lantau’s future appears to be explicitly designed to exclude community input. From day one LanDAC membership has been almost wholly drawn from the real estate, tourist and logistics industries, along with government political supporters and appointees. The public rightly doubts the genuineness of this ‘consultation.’
The government plan offers no vision for the island: what will it be like to visit, live or work in Lantau in 2026, 2036 or beyond? The report doesn’t say. At the same time it tries to micro-manage tourist development in ways that are counter-productive. Continue reading
More blue taxis could be hitting the Lantau roads as early as April.
The Transport Dept issued a tender for an extra 25 Lantau taxi plates on December 18, potentially increasing the stretched local fleet by 50%.
Local taxi numbers last increased in 1997,when ten new licences were issued as Chek Lap Kok Airport began operation.
Since then Disney and Ngong Ping 360 have opened, tourist numbers have increased fivefold and the populations of both Tung Chung and South Lantau have expanded significantly.
Hong Kong government decisions follow a well-worn path. A government agency endorses a dubious scheme cooked up by some self-serving committee, outcry ensues and after a token consultation the project goes ahead.
That has been the predictable course of the Transport Department plan to open South Lantau Road to non-residential traffic. While the extra 35 tourist buses and cars will have a small numerical imact on the current 2,500 or so vehicles on the road daily, the real effect is symbolic: it is no longer a closed road.
The TD statement makes it clear this is merely the start. When it promises to review the timetable for “the second phase” we can be sure that further phases will follow. The roads of Lantau, narrow and hazardous as they might be, are paved with gold for the developers, landowners and tourist industry hucksters that the government calls on for advice.
In this, as is almost routine, the government is well out of step with community opinion. Surveys by the Save Lantau Alliance, a green group, and the Friends of Lantau, led by District Council election candidate Lau King Cheung, both found well over 80% of local residents oppose any road opening. Continue reading
For a well-reasoned case on the problems of adding more traffic to South Lantau, read the Living Islands Movement (LIM) submission to the Transport Department.
The paper, published on its website, makes a series of points that have not been publicly addressed by the Transport Department.
For starters, it warns traffic is already growing quickly as a result of increased residential development and that police resources are stretched managing the existing vehicle volume. It reminds that the 2007 Lantau plan concluded that the area was not suitable for mass tourism and that in any case the main tourist sites at Ngong Ping and Tai O appear to be operating at close to capacity. Continue reading
Remote as Lantau may seem, you get a sharp view of the workings of Hong Kong. The dysfunction, the cronyism, the inability to grasp people’s needs – all reveal themselves in microcosm.
So when the Transport Department pre-empts the outcome of its consultation on opening South Lantau roads, that’s an issue for Lantauistas, but it also tells a tale that is reflected across the entire city.
Following a public outcry after the department’s plan to allow an extra 80 vehicles per day was made public, it consented last month to take submissions from community groups. Continue reading
Here comes the flood. The Transport Department is planning to open up South Lantau roads to 50 non-resident vehicles and an extra 20 tourist coaches each weekday. According to this story in Sing Tao Daily on Monday, the department said it had come up with the proposal after “reassessing” the current closed road policy.
It doesn’t say what specifically was reassessed. But the government and its developer-centric advisory committee have made clear their determination to overturn decades of conservation and traffic management policies in their pursuit of a vision of “Lantau development” based on mass tourism. The 50-car limit seems to be a trial balloon. Continue reading