Date
16 January 2017
Critics say curbing the number of private cars will not ease traffic congestion in the city. Photo: HKEJ
Critics say curbing the number of private cars will not ease traffic congestion in the city. Photo: HKEJ

Govt plans new measures to curb private cars

The Hong Kong government plans to roll out new measures to curb the growing number of private cars and ease road congestion in the city.

Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said the proposed measures include stiffer penalties for traffic violations, higher car registration and license fees, and introduction of road use charges, Headline Daily reported on Wednesday.

Speaking before the Legislative Council transport panel, Cheung said the measures, which will be implemented in phases, were based not only on recommendations from the Transport Advisory Committee but also on public views, latest technologies and the experience of other countries.

Data from the transport department shows that 500,000, or 70 percent of the 700,000 cars licensed in the city as of March, are privately owned, and their number continues to increase by about 3,000 a month.

Larry Kwok, chairman of the Transport Advisory Committee, warned that the worsening traffic congestion, if not addressed, could affect the city’s sustainable development and competitiveness.

However, Ringo Lee Yiu-pui, chairman of the Institute of Motor Industry Hong Kong, said the proposed measures would not solve traffic congestion.

They target the middle class and contradict the government policy encouraging people to buy electric vehicles, he said.

Lee said private cars have become a necessity for people living in the New Territories, where public transportation is not adequate.

He called for the construction of more roads and measures that complement existing ones.

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TL/AC/CG

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