A US research team has proposed a water taxi service across Victoria Harbour for Hong Kong commuters and foreign tourists after its survey found high public interest in such a mode of transport, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The team, comprising four engineering students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, released its report on Monday. The study was sponsored by Designing Hong Kong and the Harbour Business Forum.
According to the team’s survey, 89 percent of the respondents said they are interested in taking a water taxi.
The team, along with the two sponsoring organizations, called on the government to popularize water taxi services in two steps.
They proposed that the government first use existing vessels and facilities to provide the taxi service in the short term, before introducing licensed boats in the long term.
The researchers said they had taken a boat ride for the study, only to be charged HK$400 for a two-minute ride from Yau Ma Tei to West Kowloon.
The outrageous fare showed the government needs to take action to improve and regulate the water taxi industry.
Meanwhile, a member of the Harbourfront Commission said water taxis should not be restricted to fixed routes, otherwise, the business might not be profitable enough for its continued operation, as experienced by the food trucks that began services in early 2017.
The commission suggested that dedicated piers for water taxis be set up on both sides of Victoria Harbour, adding that the proposal could support tourism while helping ease road congestions.
On Monday, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah told the Legislative Council’s economic development panel that his bureau was discussing with the Transport and Housing Bureau to provide water taxis that connect Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong Island and West Kowloon.
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