Buses and Taxis

First published: 17th November 2008

Perhaps Mary Chan, seated in her taxi ("Why allow polluting buses?", letters Nov. 17) is unaware that a half-full double-decker carries about fifty passengers. Even a light bus carries eight when half-full, 60% more than a full taxi. Can she imagine the congestion if every bus in central was replaced by ten taxis? The exhaust, while perhaps not as visible, would be far greater in volume and still be polluting, plus, the taxis would be there far longer because of the resulting gridlock.

Reducing route overlaps would require more space for bus interchanges, and would increase journey times.

We have good public transport in Hong Kong, but we still need better: more efficient, more convenient, less polluting. Improving the emissions standards of buses, and their maintenance is one part of that. Adding more railways and trams is another - the South Island line will be a welcome improvement. I do wonder what happened to the idea of electric buses - there was one on test in Wong Chuk Hang some years ago, but the project seems to have been abandoned. That would have been a bus with zero roadside emissions.

I would like to see the Transport Department publish figures for energy consumption and pollution per passenger mile for different types of transport. It would allow us all to make rational comparisons. The Department already has most of the relevant data and the results would be revealing.

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