In 2004, Transport Department continues to take active measures to ameliorate air quality. These measures include replacing diesel taxis with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) taxis, phasing in LPG and electric light buses, controlling the growth of the franchised bus fleet, enhancing bus operations in congested areas, introducing bus-bus and bus-rail interchange schemes, improving vehicle emission, and implementing pedestrian schemes.
As at December 2004, there are 18,100 registered LPG taxis in Hong Kong, representing over 99% of the whole fleet. A total of 50 LPG filling stations are operating in various parts of the territory.
Since the disbursement of a one-off grant to encourage taxi owners to replace their diesel taxis with LPG ones, there have been few, if any, diesel taxis imported or newly registered in Hong Kong. We have amended the relevant legislation to formalize the situation such that no diesel taxis could be imported into Hong Kong from 1 August 2001.
LPG / Electric Light Bus
The Government has proposed a voluntary incentive programme in end 2001 to encourage existing diesel light bus owners to replace their vehicles with LPG or electric ones. After consultation with the PLB trade, the voluntary incentive scheme was formally launched on 27 August 2002. PLB owners who replace their diesel PLBs with LPG or electric ones can apply for a one-off grant of $60,000 or $80,000 respectively. The deadline for application is end of 2005 for diesel PLBs aged below 10 years at the time of de-registration. At year-end of 2004, there were 1,321 licensed LPG PLBs in Hong Kong.
Controlling the Growth of the Franchised Bus Fleet
To ensure efficient use of the existing franchised bus fleet, we are scrutinizing the companies' five-year development plans very carefully. There have been replacement of bus from the urban busy areas to new towns in the New Territories to meet the population growth and transport demand.
Bus Operations in Congested Areas
The Department further pursued the reduction of bus trips in busy corridors in 2004. Comparing to the year before, there were some 70 and 400 bus trips per day reduced along the busy corridors in Yee Wo Street and Central respectively after a series of rationalization exercise. In addition, the reduction in Nathan Road accounts for some other 370 bus trips per day in Kowloon last year. To enhance the efficiency of bus operations, bus stop re-organization schemes were also implemented in 2004. In the most critical hour, about 200 bus stoppings were removed from the busy corridors of Central, Causeway Bay and Yau Tsim Mong Districts.
Bus-bus and bus-rail Interchange Schemes
To reduce the demand for direct bus services, relieve congestion and minimize the environmental impact on busy corridors, bus-bus and bus-rail interchange schemes with fare discounts offered to the interchanged passengers are being promoted. 32 bus-bus and 3 bus-rail interchange schemes were introduced in 2004.
Improving Vehicle Emission
By the end of 2004, about 84% of the 5,977 franchised buses were running on engines in compliance with the Euro emission standards. All new buses to be purchased by the franchised bus companies will comply with the latest Euro emission standards.
For pre-Euro buses, the franchised bus companies are gradually scrapping and replacing them by new buses of the latest Euro emission standards. In 2004, about 370 buses were scrapped. All pre-Euro and Euro I buses have been fitted with diesel catalysts (CATs) or diesel particulate filters (DPFs) by the end of 2003.
In addition, the bus companies had continued to conduct the trial of the feasibility of retrofitting DPFs on Euro II and III buses in 2004, which were more effective emission reduction devices on buses with Euro II and III engines.
Since February 2001, all franchised buses have been using diesel with ultra low sulphur content.
In order to enhance road safety for pedestrians, promote walking as a transport mode and improve the overall pedestrian environment, Transport Department has implemented pedestrian schemes in Causeway Bay, Mong Kok, Tsim Sha Tsui, Central, Wan Chai, Sham Shui Po, Jordan, Stanley, the Peak, North Point, Sheung Shui and Yuen Long. These schemes have been well received by the public at large. As at end 2004, we have implemented 7 Full-time Pedestrian Schemes and over 20 each of Part-time Pedestrian Schemes and Traffic Calming Schemes. They include:
||Full-time Pedestrian Schemes:
Russell Street, Paterson Street, Jardines Crescent, Theatre Lane, Chiu Lung Street, Nanking Street and Findlay Road.
||Part-time Pedestrian Schemes:
Lee Garden Road, Lockhart Road, East Point Road, Great George Street, Pak Sha Road, Marble Road, Tai Yuen Street, Sai Yeung Choi Street South, Nelson Street, Tung Choi Street, Soy Street, Lan Kwai Fong, DAguilar Street, Wo On Lane, Apliu Street, Fuk Wa Street, Pei Ho Street, Kweilin Street, Temple Street, Stanley Main Street, Stanley Market Street, Stanley New Street, San Hong Street, San Kung Street and Yuen Long New Street.
||Traffic Calming Schemes:
Kai Chiu Road, Foo Ming Street, Lan Fong Road, Pak Sha Road, Yun Ping Road, Russell Street, Paterson Street, Great George Street, Lee Garden Road, Sai Yeung Choi Street South, Fa Yuen Street, Shan Tung Street, Haiphong Road, Hankow Road, Canton Road, Peking Road, Lock Road, Ashley Road, Ichang Street, Queens Road Central and Johnston Road.