The head of the consultancy that proposed cancelling tram services said that trams were a “waste of time” compared to other modes of transport. He also said it is “probably faster” for him to walk than to take the tram.
In an interview with RTHK on Monday, Sit Kwok-keung of Intellects Consultancy criticised Hongkongers who opposed to the cancellation of tram services. He also compared trams to rickshaws.
“If you’re feeling nostalgic, you can put [trams] in museums,” he said.
“Now that MTR services cover the whole of Hong Kong Island, why are we still insisting on a mode of transportation that is slow and carries few passengers?” he asked.
In another interview on Wednesday, Sit admitted that he seldom took the tram. He also said that from his previous experience of travelling from Central to Admiralty, it would “probably be faster for him to walk than to take the tram.”
Emmanuel Vivant of Hong Kong Tramways responded by saying that cancelling trams would go against Hong Kong’s development trend of becoming a greener and more sustainable city. He added that the company had not been approached by any governmental departments on the subject.
“It [has] a social function, because we’re the most affordable. We don’t see ourselves as competing with buses or MTR. If we’re competing against something, it’s private cars,” said Vivant in an interview with Now TV.
The consultancy’s application to Town Planning Board proposed eliminating tram services from Central to Admiralty, sparking discussion on the internet. Most netizens expressed outrage at the suggestion.
Friends of the Earth, a Hong Kong-based environmental organisation, released a series of infographics comparing the difference in passenger capacity of trams and cars, as well as the number of pollutants emitted by the two.
Facebook page Hong Kong Trams Enthusiast organised a campaign asking passengers to post pictures of them taking the tram to show their support.
The application can be found on the Town Planning Board website and is open to public comment until September 4.