Taxis and coaches are being allowed into Discovery Bay on the northeastern coast of Lantau Island 24 hours a day with effect from Oct. 26, following a green light from Hong Kong’s transport department.
With the move, people living in the upmarket residential enclave no longer have to rely solely on dedicated ferry and bus services.
Vivian Sze, general manager for sales and marketing at HKR International Limited, the sole developer of Discovery Bay, said under the new policy, taxis and travel coaches could now access Discovery Bay North and the Discovery Bay Hotel areas any time, Singtao Daily reported. However, taxis must exit these areas after a one-hour period. Failure to do so will result in a penalty of HK$100 per hour.
According to Sze, the developer has invested several millions to set up traffic regulations for the secluded district, including the installation of gates, closed-circuit television systems, signs for taxi stands, and hiring of additional security guards and establishment of security posts.
Travel coaches will be able to access Discovery Bay without prior application, a move that will help provide more convenient travel for airline staff and tour groups. Coaches will face the same time limitation as taxis.
However, many residents were outraged by the transport department’s approval for the new services.
According to a poll conducted in 2011, 71 percent of residents didn’t want taxis to be allowed into Discovery Bay while those against tourists coaches were at 91 percent, district councilor Amy Yung Wing-sheung was quoted as saying. The reason for the residents’ objection: fears that increased traffic will give rise to air and noise pollution.
However, Sze stressed that the proposal was first put forward in 2009, followed by a series of consultation among residents, and obtaining the consent of the owners’ committee and district council for the outlying island.
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