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Idling Promotion Vehicles

Should marketing vans be banned from parking on streets?

Updated on Jun 11, 2008 – SCMP

Your report (“Outrage at telecom ‘roving shops'”, June 9) neglected to mention the most serious complaint against promotion vehicles, that they operate with their engines running to provide a cool interior for staff while residents and pedestrians have to suffer the stifling air pollution and soaring temperatures they generate.

It is ridiculous that government officials say they cannot take any action against this menace. These vehicles are invariably illegally parked on drop-off areas, yellow boxes or at metered facilities where commercial activities are prohibited.

The fact is that when one makes a complaint to the police the driver is given a verbal warning only, drives around the block and then returns to the same spot. Few residents have the time and energy to hang around and repeat the exercise to ensure that eventually a ticket is issued.

Not only do these vehicles hinder legitimate loading activities on busy streets, they also represent a significant risk to public safety as the drivers are often absent and the windscreen and sides of the vehicles are covered in displays. That possible obstruction to the swift response of our emergency services is tolerated reflects very badly on our administration.

When our chief executive was elected, he promised he would “get the job done”. Pollution on our streets and obstruction of traffic flow are matters of major concern to pedestrians and drivers. These promotion vans would disappear in days if he ordered zero tolerance for parking violations. If there are not enough traffic wardens to handle this task, the government should contract out to the private sector.

At the same time, outdated hawking regulations should be urgently revised to reflect the reality that selling services is a commercial transaction no different than selling a T-shirt. The Transport Department should prohibit the modification of vehicles for this purpose.

It is high time that companies like Hutchison and PCCW displayed some corporate social responsibility. They can well afford to open shops and take temporary space in the MTR and shopping malls to provide “convenience for their customers”.

Mary Melville, Tsim Sha Tsui

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