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June 4th, 2008:

Simple Way To Reduce Traffic

Updated on Jun 04, 2008 – SCMP

Thank you, Jake van der Kamp, for summarising how best our traffic into the Cross Harbour Tunnel might be eased by equalising the tunnel fees (“How to fix tunnel dilemma and save harbour in one hit”, May 30).

I have written letters to these columns many times on the same issue. After the World Trade Organisation was held in Hong Kong I wrote to ask the Western and Eastern harbour tunnel operators how significantly usage had increased during the WTO week. For that week all tunnels operated at HK$20 per per trip. Miraculously, the traffic congestion eased completely. I wondered if these operators did make as much money as normal due to the significant increase in volume.

I also wondered if, should there be a shortfall, our government could subsidise the difference for the good of the people of Hong Kong.

Van der Kamp’s idea, however, of increasing the Cross-Harbour Tunnel to match the other tunnels works just as well. As he notes, perhaps a percentage of car users will be encouraged to convert to the MTR. Significantly the huge daily traffic jams of idling cars polluting our atmosphere would be dramatically lessened. Thousands of cars with journey times significantly cut using less fuel, emitting less pollutants, creating less follow-on traffic problems in Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui and the Aberdeen tunnel and the scrapping of further, expensive, polluting, harbour-destroying infrastructure.

What a shame there are not enough people with the integrity and love of Hong Kong required to push through such a sensible solution.

Karen Prochazka, Shouson Hill