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Old November 17th, 2011, 05:00 PM   #1061
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 10:39 AM   #1062
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LCQ9: Public transport services between Tuen Mun and the Airport
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon Cheung Hok-ming and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng, in the Legislative Council today (November 2):

Question:

Some Tuen Mun residents have reflected that quite a number of residents in the district work at the Hong Kong International Airport (the Airport) due to insufficient employment opportunities in Tuen Mun; yet, at present only a few trips are made in the morning and afternoon daily by the buses of route E33P running between Siu Hong Railway Station in Tuen Mun and the Airport, and the service can hardly meet the demand during peak commuting hours. They have also indicated that as the first bus of this route from the Airport departs after 5pm, people who get off work earlier than that in the afternoon have to take buses of other routes which charge higher fares. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it knows the percentage of the working population in Tuen Mun in the past three years who have to work across districts;

(b) in response to the situation that the workers engaged in many types of jobs at the Airport need to work shifts, whether the authorities will request the operator of the aforesaid bus route to arrange for the first bus to depart from the Airport earlier in the afternoon as warranted by the actual situation; and

(c) of the measures to improve the present public transport services between Tuen Mun (i.e. Butterfly Estate, Wu King Estate and Tuen Mun Ferry Pier) and the Airport?

Reply:

President,

(a) According to the result of the last Population By-census (Note) conducted by the Census and Statistics Department in 2006, the working population in Tuen Mun District with fixed place of work in Hong Kong was 212 978. Among them, 154 186 persons (i.e. 72%) worked outside Tuen Mun District.

(b) Currently, there are three franchised bus routes operating in Tuen Mun to and from Chek Lap Kok Airport. Route E33 (Tuen Mun Town Centre - Airport) provides all-day services, whereas the other two routes, E33P (Siu Hong Station - Airport) and A33 (Tuen Mun (Tuen Mun Station of West Rail) - Airport), run in peak hours. Supplementary to Route E33, Route E33P operates seven departures on weekday mornings (five trips on Sundays and public holidays) and three departures every afternoon between Siu Hong Station of West Rail and the Airport.

To enhance the service level, the concerned franchised bus company has planned to deploy one additional double-deck bus to serve Route E33P in the first quarter of 2012 and increase the frequency of the route, including arranging an extra and early departure from the Airport to Tuen Mun during peak hours in the afternoon. The franchised bus company will consult the concerned stakeholders and the locals on the proposed increase in frequency.

(c) At present, residents in the vicinity of Butterfly Estate, Wu King Estate and Tuen Mun Ferry Pier can take the Light Rail to Tuen Mun Town Centre where they can interchange with Route E33 to go to the Airport. An alternative for them during peak hours is taking the Airport-bound Route E33P at the nearby en-route stop on Wu Shan Road. Given that Tuen Mun Town Centre is the major transport interchange for the Light Rail and various franchised bus routes, the current arrangement can optimise the use of the existing resources of franchised buses in providing residents of various areas in Tuen Mun with the franchised bus services that meet their demand for journeys to and from the Airport. In the first quarter of 2012 when one more double-deck bus runs on Route E33P, the level of franchised bus services between Tuen Mun and the Airport will be further enhanced.

The Transport Department will continue to monitor the transport demand of the residents in Tuen Mun for going to and from the Airport, and will enhance the service of relevant franchised bus routes when necessary.

(Note) The Census and Statistics Department conducts a population census once every ten years, and a by-census in the middle of the intercensal period. The last population by-census was conducted in 2006. As regards the 2011 Population Census, the results will be available by phases as from 2012.
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Old November 26th, 2011, 08:16 AM   #1063
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Old November 27th, 2011, 02:56 PM   #1064
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Old December 1st, 2011, 01:10 PM   #1065
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Old December 7th, 2011, 07:20 PM   #1066
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Old December 9th, 2011, 05:47 PM   #1067
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Old December 23rd, 2011, 03:41 PM   #1068
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Old December 29th, 2011, 09:43 AM   #1069
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LCQ9: Emission reduction measures of franchised buses
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, in the Legislative Council today (December 14):

Question:

In his 2010-2011 Policy Address, the Chief Executive proposed to retrofit the Euro II and Euro III buses of franchised bus companies with catalytic reduction devices to meet Euro IV nitrogen oxide emission standards, and recommended the Government to fund the full cost of procuring six hybrid buses for use by franchised bus companies along the busy corridors in Hong Kong to test their operational efficiency. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it knows the respective numbers of Euro II and Euro III buses in the existing vehicle fleets of franchised bus companies in Hong Kong, and the number of buses already retrofitted with catalytic reduction devices;

(b) whether it has assessed the costs of retrofitting all the Euro II and Euro III buses currently in use with catalytic reduction devices; if it has, of the details, and the time required to complete retrofitting all such buses; if not, the reasons for that; and

(c) whether it knows the latest progress of the tests on hybrid buses; whether it has assessed when the tests will be completed; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply:

President,

Nitrogen oxides (NOx) emitted by franchised buses are one of the main reasons causing the exceedance of the Air Pollution Index at roadside. At present, over 60% of franchised buses are Euro II and Euro III vehicles which will only be completely replaced by 2019 and 2026 respectively. Since they are still in operation on the roads, if their emissions could be reduced as soon as possible, it would help improve the roadside air quality.

In some places in Europe, such as London and Belgium, they have retrofitted some of their buses with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) devices which reduce NOx emissions by about 60%. However, most public buses in these European cities are single-deckers whilst the majority of the franchised buses in Hong Kong are double-deckers. Besides, the high operation frequency and hilly terrains in Hong Kong all cause a relative increase in the engine load of local buses. Air conditioning is also required during hot summer time. Therefore, we have to conduct a trial to retrofit Euro II and Euro III buses with SCR devices to assess the technical feasibility and its effectiveness in emission reduction. If the Euro II and Euro III buses which were already equipped with diesel particulate filters (DPF) are retrofitted with SCR devices, their emission performance could be upgraded to Euro IV or Euro V level.

Our response to the Hon Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung's questions is as follows:

(a) and (b) As at late September 2011, the franchised bus companies owned a total of 3 906 Euro II or Euro III buses. The respective number of these buses owned by the franchised bus companies is tabulated at the Annex.

We have retrofitted three buses (comprising two Euro II and one Euro III buses) with SCR devices for trial in September 2011. We are now retrofitting the other three buses (also comprising two Euro II and one Euro III buses) for trial, and we expect the retrofit to be completed in February 2012. We shall review the initial results after the first six months of the trial to ascertain as soon as possible the feasibility of retrofitting Euro II and Euro III buses with SCR devices on a large-scale and their effectiveness in reducing air pollutants. Subject to satisfactory trial results, the Government will fully subsidise the bus companies to retrofit Euro II and Euro III buses with SCR devices.

These six buses for trial involve three major bus models, representing about 1 800 Euro II and 450 Euro III buses. We have also started to look into the feasibility of retrofitting the other bus models with SCR devices with a view to launching a trial for these buses as soon as possible.

Given that some Euro II buses will retire in the next few years, we estimate that at the most about 3 700 Euro II and Euro III franchised buses would be retrofitted with SCR devices. Based on preliminary information provided by suppliers, the cost of large-scale retrofit of Euro II and Euro III franchised buses with SCR devices is estimated to be about $150,000 per bus. If all 3 700 buses were to be retrofitted with SCR devices, the total retrofit cost would be about $555 million.

The time required for retrofitting all suitable buses with SCR devices depends on the number of such buses and the actual timetable for retrofit to be drawn up by the bus companies. Nevertheless, we aim to roll out the large-scale retrofit as soon as possible once the success of the trial is confirmed.

(c) As for the hybrid bus trial, the franchised bus companies are procuring the buses. Allowing the time required for production and delivery, we expect that the hybrid bus trial in Hong Kong could commence in 2013 for a period of two years.

Annex : http://gia.info.gov.hk/general/20111...0163_87985.pdf
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Old January 10th, 2012, 05:30 PM   #1070
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Old January 14th, 2012, 05:12 PM   #1071
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Old January 15th, 2012, 02:46 PM   #1072
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LCQ13: Fine suspended particulates
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon Audrey Eu and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, in the Legislative Council today (January 11):

Question:

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and many academic studies have pointed out that fine suspended particulates (i.e. particulates of a size smaller than an aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 microns) (PM2.5) have greater impact on the health of a person than respirable suspended particulates (i.e. particulates of a size smaller than an aerodynamic diameter of 10 microns). The existing Air Quality Objectives (AQOs) in Hong Kong has not included PM2.5 as a pollutant that requires to be measured, and an indicator of the concentration of PM2.5 in the air has not been formulated. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether the Government has measured the concentration of PM2.5; if it has, of the details; whether this has been released to the public; if this has not been released, of the reasons for that; if it has not measured the concentration, of the reasons for that;

(b) whether the Government has any plan to formulate an indicator of the concentration of PM2.5; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(c) when the Government will update the AQOs which have been in use for nearly 25 years?

Reply:

President,

(a) To understand the situation of fine suspended particulates (PM2.5) in Hong Kong, the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has started monitoring the pollutant in 1999 at three of the general air monitoring stations at Tap Mun, Tung Chung and Tsuen Wan together with the Central roadside station. The Yuen Long general station was later added in 2005. We have also released the relevant monitoring results to external parties. In addition, by the end of last year, we have completed the installation of PM2.5 samplers in all 14 monitoring stations in Hong Kong. We are now testing the samplers and expect that they will be in full operation in the first quarter of this year.

(b) The Government has proposed in the public consultation document on Air Quality Objectives Review to introduce a set of new objectives for PM2.5. After taken into consideration the WHO guidelines and the unique situation of Hong Kong under which particulates concentrations are strongly influenced by regional factors, we propose that Hong Kong should, as a start, adopt WHO's Interim Target-1 for PM2.5 annual and 24-hour standards, i.e. 35 ug/m³ and 75 ug/m³ respectively, as the PM2.5 objectives.

(c) Updating of AQOs is not so much about changing the limit values as implementing a series of related improvement measures so as to attain the ultimate goal of air quality improvement. The Government is endeavoured to implement air quality improvement measures that are generally supported by the community, including tightening from 2015 onwards the emission caps on the power sector by 34% to 50% as compared to those for 2010; subsidising the early replacement of Euro II diesel commercial vehicles; carrying out with franchised bus companies a trial of retrofitting on Euro II and III buses with Selective Catalytic Reduction devices; funding franchised bus companies to try out hybrid buses and electric buses; setting up a $300 million pilot Green Transport Fund; introducing legislation to promote energy efficiency for electrical appliances and buildings; setting up the Kai Tak district cooling system, etc. On the other hand, some improvement measures, such as changing the fuel mix for power generation, rationalisation of bus routes, etc., which involve complex issues and have far-reaching implications, would require detailed study and comprehensive planning. The Government is now working on the final proposal to update the AQOs for submission to the Legislative Council for deliberation as soon as possible.
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Old January 16th, 2012, 05:41 PM   #1073
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Old January 26th, 2012, 03:03 PM   #1074
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Fuel bills, fares to rise on cleaner air
The Standard
Thursday, January 19, 2012

Electricity and transport costs will rise by up to 20percent when the new air-quality standards come into force in 2014, the government said.

Secretary for the Environment Edward Yau Tang-wah made the warning a day after announcing plans to raise the Air Quality Objectives to World Health Organization standards.

Yau said the new objectives will lead to a reduction in air pollutants but may also result in a 15 to 20percent rise in transport costs and a 20percent jump in electricity bills, and the public will have to share the financial burden.

The Executive Council on Tuesday gave the green light to tougher clean-air targets for the first time in 25 years, pending approval from the Legislative Council.

About half of the objectives will adopt stricter air-quality guidelines published by the WHO in 2005.

Those for sulfur dioxide, particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) and ozone will be set to targets under WHO guidelines.

A total of 22 mitigating measures, including the phasing out of heavily polluting vehicles and the increased usage of natural gas, will be implemented to achieve the new standards.

Yau also welcomed an Airport Authority statement that it will use the updated guidelines when it carries out the environmental impact assessment on the proposed third runway at Chek Lap Kok.

The two electricity companies agreed that government efforts to cut pollution will inevitably lead to higher bills.

CLP Power said yesterday the new objectives, coupled with soaring natural gas prices, will put pressure on it to raise electricity charges.

A spokesman for Hongkong Electric said it will need to install new gas turbines to meet the new standards.

Under the new plan, bus companies have to replace old vehicles with environmentally friendly fleets.

Kowloon Motor Bus, New World First Bus and Citybus said they have already started introducing such vehicles.

But at this early stage they do not know by how much fares will have to rise when the air- quality standards are raised.
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Old February 4th, 2012, 12:52 PM   #1075
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Old February 5th, 2012, 12:09 AM   #1076
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Old February 5th, 2012, 07:14 PM   #1077
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Old February 8th, 2012, 02:26 PM   #1078
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Bus drivers warn of strike in push for 8pc
The Standard
Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Bus drivers want an 8 percent pay rise and more benefits this year, warning of strike action if they don't get them.

A union at five franchised bus firms also called for HK$40 more per day for drivers on a daily rate.

A Motor Transport Workers General Union spokesman said drivers received pay hikes of only 4percent last year - with inflation running at 5percent.

"The living standard of our bus drivers is sliding down. It is worrying to know the inflation rate will remain high this year," Chung Kin-wah said.

"Spending on electricity, housing, food and other expenses cause a great burden to many of our members."

The union also wants other benefits, including the issue of more staff family cards to contract workers, and double pay for working on public holidays.

Chung said the demands are reasonable enough for bus companies to afford them.

NWS Holdings, the parent of New World Bus and Citybus, posted net earnings of HK$4.62 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30.

Meanwhile, Kowloon Motor Bus - the territory's largest bus operator - saw a substantial increase in passengers last year over 2010, the union said, adding the company also won approval to raise fares by 3.6percent.

"Bus companies should bear their social responsibility and share their appreciable profit with their staff to boost their working initiatives. A better service is thus guaranteed," Chung said.

The union includes members from KMB, Long Win Bus, New World Bus, Citybus and New Lantao Bus.

A spokesman for New World and Citybus said they will be negotiating with staff representatives in April.

The other bus firms said they have not officially received the demands.

"Causing inconvenience to our passengers is the last thing we would like to see, but we cannot rule out taking further action - including strike action - if the bus companies are reluctant to talk to us," Chung said.
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Old February 9th, 2012, 03:36 PM   #1079
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Old February 12th, 2012, 02:33 PM   #1080
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LCQ4: Accidents inside bus compartments
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Government Press Release

Following is a question by the Hon Ip Wai-ming and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng, at the Legislative Council meeting today (February 1):

Question:

In recent years, quite a number of accidents occurred inside the compartments of public buses. Recently, a passenger even died from falling down the stairs from the upper deck to the lower deck of a bus. Some passengers who had sustained injuries from falling down bus stairs sought my assistance, pointing out that they had difficulty in claiming compensation from the bus companies involved after the accidents. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it knows the numbers of accidents occurred inside the compartments of buses of various franchised bus companies (on-board accidents) in the past five years; among them, the numbers of those accidents involving bus passengers who tripped and fell while ascending or descending bus stairs; the casualties and the types of design of the bus stairs involved in such accidents;

(b) whether it knows the number of injured passengers in the on-board accidents in (a) who have claimed compensation from the franchised bus companies involved, and among them, the number of those who have received compensation and the total amount of compensation;

(c) given that some injured passengers have relayed to me that, at present, when injured passengers claim compensation from the franchised bus companies, the burden of proof very often falls on them, and they have to prove that the bus companies concerned should be held responsible for negligence in the accident cases, but such arrangement very often impedes them from striving for reasonable compensation from the bus companies, whether the authorities have put in place any measure to assist injured passengers in claiming compensation from the bus companies or whether there is any government department to provide assistance to them in this regard; whether the authorities will request the franchised bus companies to co-operate by handing over to the injured passengers the records and data of the bus journeys during which the accidents occurred to facilitate the passengers to provide evidence; and

(d) how the authorities will instruct the various franchised bus companies to prevent on-board accidents; whether it knows the efforts made by the bus companies in the past five years to improve the safety of bus compartments and bus stairs and to reduce on-board accidents, as well as the amount of money involved and the effectiveness of such efforts?

Reply:

President,

(a) The number of non-collision franchised bus accidents involving passengers injured inside bus compartments in the past five years, the number of such accidents involving passengers injured on the staircase, and the types of staircase involved are tabulated in Annex 1.

(b) & (c) According to the information provided by the franchised bus companies, when passengers or other road users injured in a franchised bus accident claim compensation, the franchised bus company concerned or its insurer will refer the case to a loss adjuster firm for investigation based on evidence provided by both parties. The loss adjuster firm will then make assessment, making reference to the relevant ordinances and court cases. Taking into account the investigation results and assessment made by the loss adjuster firm and the relevant ordinances, the franchised bus company concerned or its insurer will decide on whether compensation is made to the claimant and the amount of compensation involved. Claimants who are not satisfied with the compensation may negotiate direct with the franchised bus company concerned or its insurer, or lodge a claim with the Court. Generally speaking, compensation claims lodged by injured passengers or other road users against franchised bus companies are civil claims in which the burden of proof is usually on the claimant, and the defendant may make his or her defence.

The total number of all third party claims (including cases involving accidents that took place inside and outside franchised bus compartments) handled by the franchised bus companies in each of the past five years is tabulated in Annex 2. The franchised bus companies are unable to provide detailed breakdown of the number of compensation claim cases involving accidents that took place inside franchised bus compartments.

(d) The Government and franchised bus companies attach great importance to passenger safety. The Transport Department and the franchised bus companies review and examine from time to time the design and facilities of franchised buses, so as to keep pace with times by making improvements to passenger safety and comfort level.

Currently, non-slippery bus floor material is installed inside franchised buses. There is also high contrast step-edge to alert passengers to mind their steps. To minimise the incidents in which passengers fall on board due to loss of balance, all major franchised bus companies have included continuous railing that guides passengers to the seats as one of the specifications for purchasing buses since late 2010. This has therefore become a standard feature on new buses. This new design allows passengers to hold on to the handrail as they move with steady steps towards the seats or other parts of the bus. To further enhance the safety of passengers when ascending or descending the stairs, extra handrails have been installed for straight staircases by all franchised bus companies.

To facilitate needy passengers (including the elderly, pregnant women, passengers carrying babies and the disabled), at least four priority seats are designated near the exit door in the lower deck of every double-deck bus. Stickers are put up on nearby windows to remind passengers to offer these seats to the needy. The franchised bus companies are also making improvements to the design of the priority seats to make them more visible. The Kowloon Motor Bus Company (1933) Limited (KMB) and Long Win Bus Company Limited (LW) have started a renovation programme by installing eye-catching bright colour headrest on the priority seats of some of their double-deck buses since June 2011 for easy recognition by passengers. Subject to the feedback of passengers, KMB and LW will extend their renovation programme to their whole bus fleets gradually. In parallel, Citybus Limited, New World First Bus Services Limited and New Lantao Bus Company (1973) Limited are considering similar renovation programmes to replace the cushions of their priority seats with different colours.

Apart from improving the design of bus compartments, the franchised bus companies broadcast messages on bus travel safety via the bus stop announcement system from time to time. Such messages include "Please hold the handrail", "For your safety, please do not stand on the upper deck or the stairway", "Please take care of the children and the elderly, and offer your seats to those in need" and "Please stand behind the yellow line". In addition, signs and posters are put up inside bus compartments, and Announcements in the Public Interest are broadcast on board to remind passengers of safety when travelling on buses.

The above-mentioned improvements to the design of bus compartments and efforts of reminding passengers of safety during their bus rides are long-term and persistent goals pursued by the franchised bus companies for providing passengers with a safe and comfortable travelling environment. Passengers in general welcome these enhanced design and improvement measures. The franchised bus companies are unable to provide a breakdown of the expenditure for such design and improvements as they are usually implemented together with the upgrading of other facilities in the bus compartment.
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