Daily passenger numbers on the Star Ferry route between Wan Chai and Tsim Sha Tsui have plunged 23 percent after the pier in Wan Chai was moved 130 meters, Ming Pao Daily reported Monday.
Ferry operations manager Samson Leung Shui-kin said the drop in passenger numbers was partly due to the lack of supporting facilities.
He called for the government to make it more convenient for passengers to go to the pier at its new reclaimed site.
Leung said the decrease translated into a 6-7 percent drop in the overall revenue of the ferry service operator, which could be hit with a deficit next year if the situation does not improve.
The firm reportedly met with the Planning Department recently to discuss the possibility of building a flyover connecting to the new pier and adding parking spaces nearby.
A representative of the department said it has concluded a public consultation for the Wan Chai North and North Point promenade areas, including transport arrangements for pedestrians to the new pier and locations for vehicle drop-off.
Leung said the daily passenger numbers on the Wan Chai-Tsim Sha Tsui route have dropped to 14,900 from 19,300 before the pier was relocated a year ago.
He also said The Star Ferry Co. Ltd. is facing a shortage of labor.
The average age of its crew is 55.7 years, Leung said.
Its chief captain, now 60, has twice pushed back his retirement plans, and there are 18 vacancies for sailors.
The company rolled out a sailor trainee program in 2013 and recruited 17 interns in two years.
However, there are only three people left in the program, owing to the relatively low monthly salary of about HK$10,000, Leung said.
But he said the career prospects for a sailor are not bad.
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