電子道路收費可解決塞車的「神話」

新加坡的私人擁有的私家車數目,2005年約40萬架,2013年最高峰逾54萬架,去年稍回落至近52萬[..],是新加坡政府堅持實施ERP 的其中一個理據。[…]當地人也的確鬧爆地鐵及巴士公司,甚至直言交通部是最廢的政府部門。良好的公共交通服務才是有效減慢私家車增長的良藥,不做好規劃和管理卻只顧針對私家車搞這搞那,妄想電子道路收費能改善擠塞,根本是官員無能而幻想出來的神話。

港共傀儡政權常言「要學習新加坡」,於是在提出電子道路收費也援引新加坡的EPR 為例,指出是有效改善繁忙區域塞車的問題云云。但結果如何??

兜路不入ERP 區域,是人人皆想到的必然技倆。但使外圍道路塞到阿媽都唔認得也會是必然,港共的X官一直都迴避這個問題,或仍舊使出「當市民白痴」編造誤導輿論。小弟近日到新加坡公幹+旅遊+探親,就大家有圖有真相。

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左轉入ERP,直去就「見唔到龍尾」。

 

想找「龍頭」嗎?

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搵到就送張 SQ 來回香港新加坡頭等機票俾你!

 

可但是焗住要俾政府Suck your money 又是咪全程暢通?
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套用香港的交通消息術語,也不過是「車多繁忙」。

順帶一提:以上相片拍攝地點是Rochor Road / Victoria Street交界路口,即2012年5月12日凌晨一名中國移民駕駛法拉利高速撞向一部的士導致三死的意外現場。

另一方面,新加坡的EPR 係實施按時段不同收費,通常早上08:00 – 09:30 和傍晚17:20 – 19:55 最貴。每逢接近開始貴價時段,好多司機都會以為自己在揸Ferrari Lamborghini,地板油左穿右插。那些時段的交通意外率特別高;而每當在「就嚟夠鐘減價」,就蟻躝龜速,甚至打死火燈停埋一邊食返枝煙,連帶「兜路」導致的擠塞,附近交通就塞到阿媽都唔認得!

所謂上有政策下有對策可不只於駕駛者,很多商業機構索性將辦公時間改為10:00 – 20:00,讓揸私家車的老闆、高層唔駛咁肉赤,同時讓員工可以享用Off-peak Monthly Travel Pass (每月S$80,無限搭09:00 – 17:00 巴士及地鐵) 。

新加坡的私人擁有的私家車數目,2005年約40萬架,2013年最高峰逾54萬架,去年稍回落至近52萬(詳見陸路交通局統計報告),是新加坡政府堅持實施ERP 的其中一個理據。港共也是基於相同的論據去提出電子道路收費計劃。但7月22日《聯合早報》刊出小弟的撰文,狠批新加坡的公共交通服務根本垃圾級數;當地人也的確鬧爆地鐵及巴士公司,甚至直言交通部是最廢的政府部門。良好的公共交通服務才是有效減慢私家車增長的良藥,不做好規劃和管理卻只顧針對私家車搞這搞那,妄想電子道路收費能改善擠塞,根本是官員無能而幻想出來的神話。

林鴻達

ERP MythBusters: Cases of Foreign Cities

Each city has its own unique problems and qualities that contribute to the outcome of a policy‭. ‬In Hong Kong‭, ‬there is limited supply of land and almost unlimited quantity of car ownership‭. ‬Prior to ERP implementation‭, ‬our infrastructure needs to keep up with the car population‭. ‬This includes effectual policies on public transit‭, ‬parking‭, ‬loading areas‭, ‬roads and highways‭; ‬and in‭ ‬a wider perspective‭, ‬the urban planning issue should also be re-examined‭.‬

In the midst of the heated debate on implementation of Electronic Road Pricing‭ (‬ERP‭) ‬scheme in the Central Business District‭ (‬CBD‭) ‬of Hong Kong‭, ‬many point to the success of Singapore‭, ‬London and Gothenburg‭.  But the devil’s in the details that show ERP is no cure-all in curbing traffic gridlocks‭.


Myth 1: In other cities, ERP successfully reduced the traffic volume on tolled roads and increased traffic speed.

‭ This is a fundamental rationale for ERP implementation to combat traffic congestion‭. It demands a closer examination, with examples, to truly understand the outcomes‭. ‬In the official Public Engagement Documents on ERP‭, ‬our government has examined the above arguments and focussed on the successful results in London congestion charging‭ (‬congestion charging in London shares its basic conception with ERP‭). ‬A 16%‭ ‬reduction‭, ‬according to their document‭, ‬was recorded in the traffic volume after its first year of execution‭.‬

If we look closer‭, ‬the 16%‭ ‬reduction on the surface represented an aggregated number of traffic volume‭. ‬In reality‭, ‬as suggested in research conducted by The Bow Group‭, ‬the main effect of a change in traffic volume only occurs after 11‭ ‬a.m‭.; ‬in other words‭, ‬the ERP implementation cannot cope with the influx of traffic during peak hours‭.‬

In addition, ‬the congestion charge in London, imposing charge on traffic influx during‭ ‬congestion hours‭ from 7‭ ‬a.m‭. ‬until 6‭ ‬p.m‭., failed to speed up the traffic flow‭‬.Neither did traffic time nor travelling speed of buses improve in congestion zones‭. ‬This calls into question whether ERP in Hong Kong‭, ‬even with charges targeting specific times of the day‭, ‬could successfully resolve the congestion problem during peak hours‭, ‬the problem that concerns most Hong Kong road users‭.‬

 

Myth 2: Taxed revenue from ERP could be used to subsidise the public transportation system, which in turn encourages the use of public transit

‭Opinions have been voiced on subsidising public transportation with the hypothetical revenue from ERP‭. ‬Jakarta Governor Basuki‭ ‘‮‬Ahok‬‭’ Tjahaja Purnama recently proposed a similar idea‭. By using the‭ ‬taxed revenue from private cars in the ERP scheme‭, ‬he hoped to provide free buses to the public that could be conducive to the livelihood of Jarkarta’s citizens. ‬It is expected to encourage the use of public transport and redistribute road users to a more environmentally-friendly and efficient type of commute‭.‬

This brilliant idea‭, ‬should it be put forward in Hong Kong‭, ‬could turn out to be more than just a pipe dream‭. ‬With people commuting between homes in new towns and workplaces in the CBD everyday‭, ‬the transportation system has already exceeded its capacity for passengers during peak hours‭. ‬A free-for-all public transit in Hong Kong would put overwhelming pressure on the current‭ ‬saturated system‭. ‬A reduction in public transportation cost‭, ‬therefore‭, ‬would not be effective enough to dissuade the use of private vehicles while encouraging the use of public transportation‭, ‬if the current development of public transit remains stagnant‭.  ‬

‭ ‬

Fact: Avoidance behavior resulting from ERP could not be prevented with bypass construction, for poor urban planning is the underlying cause of our traffic problem

In cities that implemented ERP‭, ‬road users would devise detour strategies to avoid being charged in congested zones‭. ‬Singapore was the first city in the world to implement ERP to reduce traffic‭, ‬but Singaporeans have already developed an app to guide road‭ ‬users to avoid travelling via ERP charged routes‭. ‬Similar avoidance behavior is expected by opponents of ERP Jakarta though which motorists would find alternative routes around the original ERP route‭. ‬The traffic congestion around the roads applying ERP charges may be worsened‭, ‬according to Jakarta Police chief Inspector General Tito Karnavian‭.‬

In face of the avoidance behavior and potential chaos unleashed upon the ERP implementation‭, ‬our government has commenced the construction‭ ‬of Central-Wanchai bypass‭. Charging on congested roads and opening an alternative bypass‭ could be a sound plan‭. ‬Still‭, ‬the‭ ‬underlying cause of our traffic problem in the CBD is not the growing car ownership‭, ‬but mistakes in urban planning‭. ‬While our government developed new towns that are far off‭, ‬business ventures have always been clustered around CBD‭. A continuous influx of people into the CBD would only exacerbate the current congestion problem‭. The bypass would also soon be filled up‭. ‬Therefore‭, ‬we question the sustainability of developing towns in one place while creating jobs in another‭, ‬and the effectiveness‭ ‬of the bypass in providing an alternative route for avoidance behavior‭. ‬

‭ ‬

Fact: In order for ERP to be successful, infrastructure needs to keep up with the growth of car population, while public transit provides greater net benefits to the society

One of the prerequisites of successful ERP implementation is the provision of alternative forms of commute‭. ‬Governments in cities‭ ‬cited by ERP advocates in Hong Kong‭, ‬often improved their existing public transit network as a complementary measure to deal with the surge of in demand arising from an ERP scheme‭. ‬300‭ ‬buses were deployed on the streets of London‭; ‬frequency and bus lanes were added and rail transit improved in the city of Gothenburg‭; ‬domestic MRT railway network and Light Rail Transit were constructed and expanded‭ ‬between the city hubs and satellite towns in Singapore‭.‬

The emphasis on a more comprehensive public transit in relieving traffic congestion is buttressed by a recent study‭, ‬which argued that traffic could be diverted along specific congested roads‭. ‬It provided rebuttal against the classic theory of‭ “‬fundamental law of highway congestion”. ‬‭The theorist‭, ‬researcher Anthony Downs‭, ‬proposed that regardless of how governments expand public transits‭, ‬maximum capacity on the expressways would always be reached during peak hours‭. ‬Charging for the use of roads‭, ‬according to the theorist‭, ‬was the only way out‭. ‬As proposed by the recent study‭, ‬shifting the focus back to specific congested roads‭, ‬however‭, ‬presents us with the fact that public transit is the key‭.‬

The above study pointed out another cause to our congestion problem‮‬ – the current public transit planning in Hong Kong lacks coordination‭. ‬Our government displays over-reliance on the railway system in planning‭; ‬the dissociation between the on-road commute‭ (‬including buses and minibuses‭) ‬and railway planning has resulted in a mismatch between demand and supply in some of the route services‭.

In the ERP proposal‭, ‬our government has made promises to improve public transit infrastructure upon the ERP implementation‭, ‬including opening the South Island line and Shatin to Central Link‭. ‬Nevertheless‭, ‬in the Public Transport Re-organization Plan to tie in the‭ ‬Commissioning of South Island line‭, ‬part of the existing bus routes were cancelled‭. ‬This shows our government has repeated the‭ ‬same fatal mistake by over reliance on the railway system‭. ‬A more comprehensive and coordinated public transit planning is yet to be‭ ‬seen‭, ‬casting more doubts on whether our government could‭, ‬in reality‭, ‬fulfill the prerequisites of a successful ERP scheme‭.‬

Each city has its own unique problems and qualities that contribute to the outcome of a policy‭. ‬In Hong Kong‭, ‬there is limited supply of land and almost unlimited quantity of car ownership‭. ‬Prior to ERP implementation‭, ‬our infrastructure needs to keep up with the car population‭. ‬This includes effectual policies on public transit‭, ‬parking‭, ‬loading areas‭, ‬roads and highways‭; ‬and in‭ ‬a wider perspective‭, ‬the urban planning issue should also be re-examined‭.‬

We hold no objection to taking references from foreign cities‭, ‬but traffic policies of one city cannot be the carbon copy of another‭. ‬An ineffective ERP scheme would only be perceived as a mean to increase government revenue‭, ‬which our government‭‬ -‬ given‭ ‬the surplus of the fiscal budget‭ -‬‮‬ has no excuse in doing so‭. ‬Since public perception is vital to the governance of local authority‭, ‬ERP could be the undoing of our government that is already so poorly regarded‭.‬

Sensible Transport
(原文刊於 Harbour Times 網頁)

專業人士齊撐電子道路收費?

為甚麼有80%專業人士認同呢?因為專業人士要不福利高,要不就擁有公司或政府提供的特權如車位,或者兩樣皆有,因此對專業人士來說,最大的煩惱不是車價和車租,也不是道路收費,而是太多廢青、廢柴、廢拉、廢物(下刪一萬字)霸佔道路,不能「回報社會」(搵得太少錢),因而「缺乏效益」等等,因此如果可以用錢,趕絕你班死窮鬼、R爛腳、人間廢業,把全香港的道路「還路於有錢人」,當然應該舉腳支持!

香港中文大學未來城市研究所訪問了1200個香港市民,發現有80%的受訪專業人士認同「電子道路收費」,但公眾支持度卻低至44%,比起「專業人士」低得多;林忌作為20%的小眾,感到十分慚愧,因為出賣了自己的階級利益也。

為甚麼有80%專業人士認同呢?因為專業人士要不福利高,要不就擁有公司或政府提供的特權如車位,或者兩樣皆有,因此對專業人士來說,最大的煩惱不是車價和車租,也不是道路收費,而是太多廢青、廢柴、廢拉、廢物(下刪一萬字)霸佔道路,不能「回報社會」(搵得太少錢),因而「缺乏效益」等等,因此如果可以用錢,趕絕你班死窮鬼、R爛腳、人間廢業,把全香港的道路「還路於有錢人」,當然應該舉腳支持!

就好似私人會所一樣,把你班廢物拒諸於門外,私家車變成有錢人俱樂部的專利──「然後我們就開住架鮮紅色的法拉利跑車,用眼尾望下沙甸魚般的車廂內,一大堆汗臭味混雜而成的『熱冷氣巴士』,成車人果副『死樣』,自己心情都靚哂!寧舍精神爽利!我覺得男人到左三十歲仲要依賴(公共)交通工具好可憐,真係好可憐!唔係搵咁多錢,又有咩用呢?」老友甲認真的說。

今日冇「電子道路收費」──「即使開住架『波子』,因為車身特低,被老爺『前七』阻擋視線,更要被困車龍望車尾,居然要同你班友迫?咁我搵咁多錢為乜?搵得錢多,居然唔係排隊優先?居然要同你班死窮鬼一齊塞車?呢個世界仲有天理的?X你老….天理何在?」──老友乙這句,真的耳熟能詳。

「當然唔止係自己飛車,更多係屋企人要用車,買國際學校Debentures花了幾十萬至幾百萬,專門請幾個外傭加司機,竟然要塞車?My Goodness!必須用錢趕絕窮人!香港太多人使得起錢開車!Come on Kay, 可不可以成熟一點呢?」──港媽丙如是說。

我抗辯:「不!雖然我作為既得利益的一員,亦絕對負擔得起呢幾廿蚊的電子道路收費,但你們這樣做是出賣中下階層的利益,甚至斷絕基層市民追求更好生活的階梯

眾人覆:「傻的嗎?你身為專業人士,你就應該幫自己的階級講野;至於班死窮鬼,死開啦!」

林語堂曾經說:「中國有一類人,身處社會最底層,權利時時刻刻在受到著侵害,卻有著統治階級的思想,處處為統治階級辯護。」──香港亦受這種思想病毒所傷害,不少窮人以為「電子道路收費」可以趕絕私家車,卻不知道對價錢最敏感的,其實是他們自己。

林忌

解決塞車 政客堅離地

政客總是喜歡把納稅人的錢花在基建上。在倫敦,有愈來愈多的地下鐵路建成,但倫敦的私家車數量仍一直輕微上升。同樣,在世界其他地方,私家車數量總是隨著經濟增長一路上升。香港亦沒有例外,縱使政府嘗試將擁有私家車的成本變得非常昂貴,私家車數量的增長率仍遠高於GDP或人口的增長。

自十九世紀起,倫敦西區的牛津大街(Oxford Street)已經是世界上最繁忙的零售區之一。市長薩迪克汗(Sadiq Khan)曾承諾,在二O二O年前將整條牛津大街定為行人專用區,連公共交通工具包括的士和巴士亦將會被禁止行駛。

這不是什麼新鮮事。自上世紀六十年代起,英國運輸部已經密切留意這條所謂「歐洲中最不文明的街道」。新時代的後物質主義興起,其中最具標誌性的運動,就是反對私家車擁有權。這項運動的理念最終亦成為了眾多城市規劃師多年來的共識——透過阻礙市民使用私家車來解決世界各大都市的交通問題。

然而,這個方案不是處處通用。推廣公共客運交通固然是理想的做法,但現實中仍有許多人想要更多隱私和選擇。所以問題的關鍵在於,究竟「隱私」和「選擇」是基本權利,抑或是少部分有能力擁有私家車的人士之特權。

政客總是喜歡把納稅人的錢花在基建上。在倫敦,有愈來愈多的地下鐵路建成,但倫敦的私家車數量仍一直輕微上升。同樣,在世界其他地方,私家車數量總是隨著經濟增長一路上升。香港亦沒有例外,縱使政府嘗試將擁有私家車的成本變得非常昂貴,私家車數量的增長率仍遠高於GDP或人口的增長。

最近,香港政府希望在香港引進電子道路收費,但筆者不認為收費能解決交通擠塞的問題,尤其是當私家車已經變成了一種奢侈品。假如電子道路收費真的奏效的話,倫敦市長就不必提出如此激進的方案,將整條牛津大街定為行人專用區。

幸好,市場的創造力及解決問題的能力遠遠超過官僚的想像力。汽車共乘應用程式,例如Uber和Lyft,為減低私家車擁有量和改善道路使用帶來不少希望。始終,我們都不應單靠政客和官僚提出解決方案,否則生活上事事都會被禁止,或者變得異常昂貴。

Simon Lee

(由香港路邊社編輯翻譯,原文載於七月二十二日的《英文虎報》。)

塞爆屯門誰之過

從政府不能也不敢在屯門試行「電子道路收費」,足以證明特區政府非常清楚,所謂電子道路根本無助於減少私家車,也無助於解決塞車問題;唯一可能收到影響的,即相對比較貧窮的車主,這些人為了減輕租金或供樓的負擔,把差價用來養車,政府以「電子道路」來針對的,只能阻嚇到這些人。簡單而言,就是劫貧濟富,令富者愈富,單是租金差價的影響,已經高過這些「道路收費」有餘,特區政府實際上所做的,只是推高不受影響地區的樓價,

繼屯門青盈路38號的貴族學校哈羅香港國際學校之後,屯門掃管笏又開多一間新貴族學校「凱莉山」,由於哈羅國際目前每到返學放學時段,已有超過400私家車會堵塞青山公路,令居民已要提早半小時出入;當區區議員擔心,位於山腰的豪宅「滿名山」,有1100伙435個車位,將於明年12月入伙,在缺乏道路時再增加貴族學校,塞車問題只會更嚴重。

從這種荒謬的交通擠塞說明,特區政府官員規劃道路時,根本完全沒有思考過道路的配套;特區官員想當然:學生是坐校車吧,對道路沒有影響;可是真相就是,當一些「豪宅」售上億,或「貴族學校」單是債券都三四百萬時,無論甚麼以價錢調節道路使用的方式,都必定完全失去效用──付出過億買樓,以至幾百萬來讀書的,根本無懼電子道路收費。

運輸局認為「電子道路收費」可以減少塞車?那麼為何不把措施用在屯門試一試?在青山公路實施電子道路收費吧!只收幾十元一程,先試每次出入$100一程,你認為能阻嚇到私家車進出嗎?

當然不,就算把屯門本區的居民都嚇走,也絕對無法把這些貴族學校的私家車嚇走,結果就是只得一個,即把所有道路空間只留給最有錢的人,而其他人即使被趕絕,都無法趕絕這些住上億豪宅,買幾百萬債券讀書的私家車使用者。

從政府不能也不敢在屯門試行「電子道路收費」,足以證明特區政府非常清楚,所謂電子道路根本無助於減少私家車,也無助於解決塞車問題;唯一可能收到影響的,即相對比較貧窮的車主,這些人為了減輕租金或供樓的負擔,把差價用來養車,政府以「電子道路」來針對的,只能阻嚇到這些人。簡單而言,就是劫貧濟富,令富者愈富,單是租金差價的影響,已經高過這些「道路收費」有餘,特區政府實際上所做的,只是推高不受影響地區的樓價,

面對實際上的需求,政府需要做的就是建更多高速公路,打通各區的樽頸;建更寬更多行車線的高速公路,去提升行車能使用的安全速度上限。當政府瘋狂地在半山,與只得兩線的小路建高層豪宅與貴族學校,卻期待這些人會有如黎民百姓般「迫巴士」或乘坐公共交通工具,這是完全脫離現實與不切實際的;政府要不就源頭減人,終止香港的發展與建設,要不就要改變目前的思維方式,以足夠的車位與高速公路解決問題,而非妄想收費可以減少塞車,這絕對是自欺欺人。

林忌
原文轉載至全民媒體網頁 

應向陸路邊境進行電子道路收費

「用者自付」以及「稅基狹窄」,是香港特區政府長期不斷強調的說法;然而正如吳克儉所說,目前造成大量跨境學童問題的,其實是由於雙非童所造成的高峰,將隨著雙非的數字回落;因此這些父母都和香港無關的家長,既不向香港納稅,竟要浪費納稅人金錢,去為他們放棄「偉大祖國」制度,「戀殖」來香港的自私行為「埋單」,實在豈有此理!

6月22日教育局局長吳克儉,對立法會提問的田北俊議員,作出書面答覆,回應田議員查問有「大量學童跨境上學,會對過境交通造成壓力」的問題;首先,林忌認為田北俊問錯了局長,明明是交通問題,為何不是向運輸局及房屋局局長張炳良發問呢?為何竟然過問教育局?

對,既然特區政府認為「塞車」的解決方法,就是收費,正如在中區要實施電子道路收費一樣,那麼為甚麼偏偏不向對過境交通造成壓力的陸路交通,同時實施電子道路收費呢?中區同樣有學童,也有很多學童需要經過中環一帶來上下課、補助或者進行課外活動,為何中環就要收費,而陸路邊境又不用收費呢?

更荒謬的是當所有機場乘客,自8月1日起使用香港機場,都要付「機場建設費」的「空路離境稅」時,偏偏香港特區政府在建設陸路關卡,例如甚麼「蓮塘口岸」時,連超支要248億的興建費,卻全數由公帑支付;為何陸路去離境就不需要「用者自付」,而空路離境卻要?為何我們明明反對興建第三條跑道,卻要為這些我們不需要的設施「埋單」呢?

「用者自付」以及「稅基狹窄」,是香港特區政府長期不斷強調的說法;然而正如吳克儉所說,目前造成大量跨境學童問題的,其實是由於雙非童所造成的高峰,將隨著雙非的數字回落;因此這些父母都和香港無關的家長,既不向香港納稅,竟要浪費納稅人金錢,去為他們放棄「偉大祖國」制度,「戀殖」來香港的自私行為「埋單」,實在豈有此理!亦因此,為教育他們重投祖國的懷抱,勿把光陰虛耗在交通與等待過關,最有效的方法,是由「政制及內地事務局」去安排中國接收這些雙非子女的學業,再由「運輸局及和房屋局」對早上繁忙時段的陸路交通,收和中環電子道路收費同價的塞車費,那麼香港政府既可以增加收入,又可以減少不必要的教育開支,北區家長又可以減少投訴搶學位,把這些錢用作幫助本地的基層,實在是一石數鳥!

為甚麼不做呢?就正如機場的三跑1450億,高鐵的844億,港珠澳大橋港方接近600億,這些費用其實最應該「用者自付」──想要使用的人自付,偏偏特區政府專門詐騙,把費用分攤到反對者的頭上,把責任推給不相干的人身上,這就是政權移交以來,特區政府的荒謬施政。

林忌
(原文刊於全民媒體網頁)

ERP is an inconvenient option but should not be omitted

There is little dispute that, before ERP is rolled out, traffic management measures should be stepped up to provide immediate relief to the most congested roads. One possible measure is a substantial increase in traffic regulating personnel at congestion black spots.

But such efforts cannot outrun the growth in traffic demand generated by the rise of population and development density in an extremely constrained urban road network. More systemic and potent policy instruments have to be put into action to cope with the worsening situation.

To charge or not to charge – that is the question. (Photo credit: Jeni Zhi)



To charge or not to charge – that is the question posed by the government to Hong Kong people when contemplating congestions in the central business districts (CBD). It is believed that by implementing an Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) scheme, in which road users are required to pay a fee to enter a defined zone in the CBD during the peak hours, congestion can be reduced because those who are unwilling to pay will avoid making unnecessary trips.

ERP, first proposed for Hong Kong in the 1980s, has never been rid of controversies and public objection. Critics focused predominantly over the issues of privacy and the lack of enforcement of existing traffic regulations.

Around the world ERP has been adopted by a handful of major cities and considered by some others. It has been regarded by and large as a success that can curb congestion. Yet, one must not omit Hong Kong’s own circumstances which may suggest otherwise.

ERP is a straightforward demand-supply regulation. Because the “supply” of road space is limited and its “demand” is high, economic principle dictates that in order to decrease demand, the cost for obtaining road space needs to be raised, so that road users will re-evaluate the benefit of using the road against the total cost imposed on them, eventually resulting in a change of traffic pattern.

Also, because of the negative “externalities” incurred by congestion, road users who “take part” in congestion should compensate for them. Negative externalities refer to those undesirable side effects of congestion, such as noise and air pollution, occupation of urban space and wasted time. These side effects are then suffered by the entire society. Therefore it is the responsibility of the government to implement the necessary measures to redistribute the social cost and hopefully alleviate the situation.

By the same token, public transport users should be rewarded for their more efficient use of road space as opposed to private car users. For example by enhancing service level of railway and bus services and discounting fare.

So much so for the theory, but could ERP reduce congestion in reality? According to foreign examples, traffic flow can be reduced and driving speed increased, at least for the first year of implementation. There is no evidence that it does not work altogether.  But there is no all-rounded approach, in terms of effectiveness, practicality and protection of privacy, has been put into force yet.

There are different ways of charging in ERP systems around the world; and the government is proposing two options: one option is to charge road users every time for crossing the toll points on the boundary of the zone, known as “cordon based” mechanism; the other is to charge road users for entering the charging zone on a daily basis, known as the “area-based” mechanism.

The cordon mechanism could adjust charge rate according to traffic conditions (the more congested the more expensive). Under this mechanism, however, drivers might risk being charged more than once within a short time period due to a limited choice of routing. It could also lead to irritating driving practices such as slowing down before passing the cordon.

As for the area-based mechanism, a flat rate is levied throughout the payment period and valid for the same charging day which is easier to execute. However, its drawback is that it does not discourage use of roads after a vehicle has paid the fee for the day, drivers may even “economise” the charge by making more unnecessary trips.

None of these mechanisms could charge road users according to the distance travelled within the charge zone, hence its precise contribution to congestion. A “distance-based” mechanism would require tracking of vehicle’s exact movements, which in spite of technical feasibility, would be an easy target for critics on privacy.

Singapore is upgrading into a distance-based charging system scheduled for 2020, hinging on a satellite tracking method. The Singaporean authorities claims that privacy can be guaranteed by controlling the nature of information collected so that road users can remain anonymous. But should it be transplanted to Hong Kong, given the public distrust towards the government, people may find it hard to accept anything that could constitute a violation of their personal privacy.

Clearly, the real challenge to ERP is neither theoretical nor practical. It is a political one. Apart from privacy concerns, no road users would advocate for an additional financial burden on driving – on top of all other costs, including the first registration tax (FRT), high parking fees in urban areas, and so on. While for those who could potentially benefit from it, like bus passengers, few of them know about ERP, let alone supporting it. In fact, politicians seldom take an anti-motorist stance, as that could be catastrophic to their popularity.

Worse still, the government has not mentioned explicitly how the revenue generated from ERP will be used. In foreign ERP schemes, revenues are usually earmarked either for improving public transport service or investment in transport infrastructure. But for the Hong Kong government, it intends to use the ERP gains to pool all kinds of revenues into the government treasury for central allocation. This could raise the issue of over-taxation, especially from right-wing economics advocates, since government reserves are already abundant.

Another argument against ERP is that a more stringent enforcement of traffic regulations could be just as effective as ERP in alleviating congestion. Regular road users blame illegal parking, boarding, and alighting to be the fundamental causes of congestion in the CBD. The police and traffic wardens issue fine tickets only at a random and infrequent basis, thus nurturing a culture of disregarding traffic regulations among frequent drivers.

But taking a step back, should ERP be refuted and shelved, the society will continue to suffer from the consequences of congestion and will have to pay the cost indirectly, which are more tremendous to be accounted for than ERP itself. Tackling congestion would benefit the whole society, though it may not be welcomed by everyone.

To be fair, the government has already stretched its arms, at least at the policy level, to reduce traffic and curb congestion. For instance, the FRT is imposed on new vehicle purchases in order to discourage car ownership – yet it has seen a dramatic hike during the past decade due to compounded economic and societal causes. Besides, fuel tax is levied to discourage overall car usage; but it does not address car use in CBD and congested road sections. Not to mention the complicated public transport system, which is already overloaded. Other measures such as legislating new car registration quota per capita and car usage restriction by odd-even number plates are too cumbersome to be considered. As such, it is down to ERP as a tool to proactively regulate road usage patterns.

There is little dispute that, before ERP is rolled out, traffic management measures should be stepped up to provide immediate relief to the most congested roads. One possible measure is a substantial increase in traffic regulating personnel at congestion black spots.

But such efforts cannot outrun the growth in traffic demand generated by the rise of population and development density in an extremely constrained urban road network. More systemic and potent policy instruments have to be put into action to cope with the worsening situation.

It seems sensible to suggest that ERP should work to achieve its goal in large. Nevertheless, it cannot be stressed enough that caution must be taken when it comes to designing the system, so to minimize its nuisance to road users.

Sensible Transport
(原文刊於Harbour Times網頁)

電子道路收費買誰怕?

要紓緩交通擠塞,政府必須對症下藥,早應在規劃土地時做好相關的交通配套,在現行路道上適量增加泊車位,以及優化公共交通服務等方為上策,並非頭痛醫腳,向小市民開刀,又無助解決塞車問題。

運輸及房屋局局長張炳良日前又說有必要推展電子道路收費先導計劃解決道路擠塞問題,卻對坊間多篇評論、報道及數據分析等指出中環交通擠塞主因是泊車位嚴重不足視若無睹,令筆者不禁質疑政府是思維短路,抑或刻意漠視民意。

中環實施電子道路收費究竟買誰怕?首先,老闆車塞爆中環是眾所周知,置地High Tea、名店濕平、返公司巡視業務,老闆要在中環上車落車就是指令,泊車錢濕濕碎。可是,在中環不難發現車輛不停兜圈找泊車位、不然就是長長等泊位的車龍,歸根究柢就是中環泊車位嚴重不足,區內路面怎會不擠塞?

經常思維短路的政府卻繼續頭痛醫腳,又掟出電子道路收費方案,難道還不明白老闆們那管抄牌罰款、亦不介意道路收費!一千幾百,猶如垃圾,總之千其勿讓老闆日曬雨淋、多行幾步、等得太久。電子道路收費對老闆車而言是無牙老虎,在中環泊車位供不應求的實況下,無論過路費實施與否,老闆車只會繼續塞爆中環。

可是從另一角度看,中環實施電子道路收費又會「玩謝」班物流司機大佬……的顧客,即是我們小市民。物流司機大佬為了搵食也要交過路費,難道本要在中環上落貨,為了節省過路費,就由中環鄰區的西環或灣仔身水身汗推車仔、拖板車、徒步搬貨去中環送貨?雖然總有例外,但是後果更可怕,馬路旁和行人路上一板板貨擦身 / 車而過,肯定險象橫生。否則,貨始終要在中環卸,物流過程牽涉多個行業,運輸成本增加,肯定是由消費者「硬食」,百物騰貴可困擾全港小市民,至於中環的交通擠塞,則維持不變。

早前有一民間團體視察及統計中環畢打街及遮打道違法泊車和警方執法數字,所得結果是3天的視察及統計發現,兩條道路的違例泊車情況也非常嚴重,但只見13次警員上前勸喻或票控違例泊車,期間卻錄得共1,617架次違泊,即平均近124架次違泊才有1次的警方勸喻或票控,統計視察的其中一天更是港島交通日!可見警方執法不力,而區內泊車位又嚴重不足。

筆者是反對電子道路收費計劃,認為此方案是極為擾民傷財,無助解決中環塞車情況。要紓緩交通擠塞,政府必須對症下藥,早應在規劃土地時做好相關的交通配套,在現行路道上適量增加泊車位,以及優化公共交通服務等方為上策,並非頭痛醫腳,向小市民開刀,又無助解決塞車問題。

白流蘇
(原文刊於全民媒體網頁)

交完稅仲要自付-悲哀的港人

[…]可以看見政府已經失去全盤計劃整合的能力,政策不是為了抵達到目的,而是方便自己,可以讓人覺得他做了些事情,好推卸責任,同時候,他還可以借故增加權力和稅收。以上,就是香港政府政策的真實情況。

撇除香港以外因素,香港其中一個最大隱憂是政府的思考規劃能力低落。香港某些人物羨慕新加坡式強政勵志,可是看看香港政府做出來的好事,就知道放任他們後果肯定更糟糕。大至大白象,小至縮小垃圾桶口,例子不一而足。

缺乏思考規劃能力,又沒有跨部門的處事能力,政府的做法往往是表面上處理問題,實際上推卸責任。

電子道路收費就是這樣的一個提案,出師有名曰用者自付,美其名為寓禁於徵,實質也是又一個政府不用做事卻好像提出方法的門面功夫。

如果真相信用者自付原則,政府應該任由市場處理問題,盡可能撤出市場。道路不可以私人經營嗎? 中國大陸早有答案。

有競爭,有選擇,市場定價,並壓逼業務提供者增加效率,降低價錢,這才是用者自付。政府隨便開銷,再向市民漫天要價,說是成本要由用者負擔,這不是用者自付,是政府不處理問題而提出的荷捐雜稅。

市民付了稅,本來政府負責的事項,預到一點困難,卻突然說不包含在服務內,而要另外收費,這是甚麼道理? 不懂處理問題的政府,要來幹甚麼?

寓禁於徵不是絕對不能提,因為經濟學上面,加價就會降低需求,這是一個壓制的方法,然而用這個方法,除非到沒有解決的方法,也就是社會資源真的飽和了,才應該使用,而不是在有方法的時候,政府為了自己增加收入,同時不用做很多事情,而恣意徵費。

汽車在核心地區過多的問題,很大部份源於政府的規劃疏忽及錯誤。撇除一些比較舊的地區比較難處理,新的地區政府又幹出甚麼好事?

「起動東九」
「起動東九」


政府推廣「起動東九」,活化舊樓,重建社區,九龍東這五年的變化頗為驚人,就樓宇來講,大量工業大廈已經及正在重建,市建局亦接連有大型計劃。當年建成舊的工業大廈時,為了遷就啟德機場,樓宇高度低矮,都在10層以下,機場搬遷已後,現在建成的新樓宇,按位置不同錯落規劃,普遍可以在20至30層。理論上,東九龍上班的人數會增加1.5倍,那麼請問政府有否為觀塘至新蒲崗地區增加1.5倍的主要幹道? 更不用提啟德發展區完成已後的運輸需求! 結果就是重建了一半,觀塘道每天上下班時間,車龍已經越來越長,以後是甚麼情況,都已不感想象。甚至週末,情況也沒好轉,因為政府批准巨大的商場,建在主要路口旁邊,商場卻是停車位不足,進出商場的車龍阻礙路口,全區都動彈不得。

再看看各工業區新建成的商業大廈,停車位供應的情況吧!

一般來說,一家中型的公司,老闆有自用車一台,再加上公司共用的汽車一台,是十分正常的情況,這樣的公司,大概每個樓層一家,佔用1/3左右面積(10,000ft一層樓面計),一座25層商廈應該要配備50個車位,再加上速遞、送貨、清潔的車輛佔用數個臨時車位,就要設計車位55-60個。如果大廈有商場、便利店、食肆,還要增加送貨位置,此外,全層租用大大公司或銀行、會計、律師、保險等等,需要的車位也會大量增加。例如沙田近鐵路的某商場,自從將其中一座商業樓租給某投行並以租戶命名以後,其停車場就被長期租用的汽車填滿了。

大家留意一下,政府有否要求新建的商廈,提供合理的車位數量? 絕對沒有。更有甚者,市區的幾個多層停車場,都準備重建,而政府並沒有要求地產商建造同等數量,甚至更多的車位。

這樣,路上汽車不多才是怪事!

有人說開車是不好的行為,政府不應鼓勵而應該製造困難,讓少些人開車。那麼我反問一個問題,政府將大量人口搬進新界,卻沒有在新界規劃相應的工商土地,以百萬人口因而必需經幾倍路程回到市區上班,這是誰的錯? 政府在規劃的時候,預算市民要轉車3、4次,每每等候2、3個班次的巴士/火車,一程花費2小時,是正常的想法嗎? 當那些家庭搬到新世界,樓價平了一些,而看看收入又無法再換樓的時候,用一部汽車讓夫婦二人代步,並接送小朋友上學,是非常正常的結果。


屯門新市鎮
屯門新市鎮


更有甚者,政府放任新界出售丁屋圖利,而該等地區一般僅有一條巴士/小巴路線,通常該路線不會連繫街市,也不覆蓋每一個主要車站住在丁屋的人,不需要汽車代步嗎? 更有甚者,他們難道可以轉一兩次車回家的路途上,背負整個星期的食物和日用品。

近來政府在西貢地區規劃不少居住樓宇,可是任何路過沙田和鑽石山的人都會發現,今天進出西貢的道路,已經完全飽和,上下班車龍連綿不絕。可是西貢區內仍有多個地盤在動工。假設政府打算在西貢增加60000人口,其中40000要外出上班上學,那麼就需要266架次巴士! 嘗試問西貢的道路還可以負荷嗎?

 

道路收費和規劃,問題很困難,也有很多說法。我們用費物徵廢作例子,可以更加看到政府的無理。

按政府的說法,香港處理廢物的設施很快用盡,必需壓止垃圾增加,甚至要減少垃圾。這些方面,我相信很少人有異議,可是政府有用盡一切方法降低垃圾數量嗎? 分類設施,在政府管轄的地方不特別普遍,垃圾站等也沒有完備的處理系統,新建樓宇沒有安設相應設施的標準,亦沒有強制近20年落成的樓宇加強相關設施,對新的樓宇尚且如此,就更不用指望政府為舊區舊大廈想法子。另外就算在源頭分類以後,政府也沒有安排和協助回收業去處理,結果分類不分類後果也一樣, 更離譜的是有記者在香港發現大量外國電子垃圾。

在這個政府甚麼都沒有做之下,就告訴市民,垃圾收費非不可,如果政府真正係如自己所講按量收費,他們有打算退回現在徵收的垃圾處理費用,再按用量公平分配嗎? 沒有。

所以垃圾收費是在原有收費上,再荷捐加稅。

政府是真心按量收費嗎? 不是,政府為求方便,打算按大廈甚至屋苑的整體用量收費,對個別住戶來講,自己節約並不能惠及自己,其他住戶的不良做法,收費卻共同承擔,結果住戶根本完全沒有減廢意欲。

所以可以看見政府已經失去全盤計劃整合的能力,政策不是為了抵達到目的,而是方便自己,可以讓人覺得他做了些事情,好推卸責任,同時候,他還可以借故增加權力和稅收。以上,就是香港政府政策的真實情況。

H 先生

改善中環道路管理勝於電子道路收費

我們認為中環塞車主因就是泊位不足,私人停車場或商場外,常常有一條條長長車龍等候,不然就是不停兜圈找泊車位,自然造成道路擠塞,惡性循環沒完沒了。警方在我們的研究發表後,在今年六月初連續七日實行交通日,嚴格在中環抄牌,但行動過後就塞車還原,成效不彰。

香港政府早前諮詢公眾對於中環附近區域實施電子道路收費的意見。中西區區議會率先於本年3月10日的會議中,以大比數通過動議,反對政府貿然在中區實施電子道路收費先導計劃。

最熟悉地區實況的中西區議員在會上建議政府應先採取其他措施,包括加強打擊非法泊車、增加泊車位供應等,以更有效地紓緩中區及鄰近地區之道路擠塞問題,實在值得讚許。

然而,運輸署楊何蓓茵署長在諮詢完結後,結果報告還未出爐,就於《紫荊》雜誌發表《香港如何解決城市交通難題》一文,字裡行間顯示,當局似乎正在為《中環及其鄰近地區電子道路收費先導計劃》鋪路。在公眾參與的諮詢結果尚未公布,當局就揚言計劃稍後委聘顧問專家進行深入的可行性研究,並擬訂定較具體方案再進行第二階段的公眾參與活動;看來當局有意製造既定事實,與中西區區議會的議決反其道而行。

究竟政府有沒有在規劃土地時做好配套和管理,打擊非法泊車?我們在本年3月11日早上10時至下午6時、3月12日早上9時至下午1時及3月14日早上9時至下午1時派員到中環畢打街及遮打道現場視察違例泊車情況,並定時統計違泊車輛架次,發現違例泊車情況非常嚴重,包括在不當地方上落客貨及不遵守交通指示停泊等,視察及統計結果顯示:

總結3天視察及統計,兩條道路只錄得13次警員上前勸喻或票控違例泊車,期間卻錄得共1,617架次違泊,即平均近124架次違泊才有1次警方勸喻或票控。

3月11日是港島交通日,但統計期間畢打街錄得918架次違泊,警方勸喻及票控只有3次;而遮打道同日錄得308違泊架次,警方勸喻及票控亦只有3次;即兩條道路同日共錄得1,226架次違泊,以合共6次警方勸喻或票控計算,平均近204架次違泊才有1次的警方勸喻或票控。

同日,畢打街最高峰在早上10時至10時半的30分鐘內已錄得85架次違泊車輛;遮打道在同一時間錄得30架次違泊車輛。中午時間亦是違泊的高峰期,畢打街於中午12時半至下午1時錄得72架次違泊車輛,遮打道於同時間則錄得28架次。

違泊車輛中有部分違泊超過30分鐘至1小時,不少是商用上落貨車輛,更發現有政府車輛。

視察及統計3天期間,調查員發現有警員經過時未有對違泊車輛作出任何行動。

我們認為中環塞車主因就是泊位不足,私人停車場或商場外,常常有一條條長長車龍等候,不然就是不停兜圈找泊車位,自然造成道路擠塞,惡性循環沒完沒了。警方在我們的研究發表後,在今年六月初連續七日實行交通日,嚴格在中環抄牌,但行動過後就塞車還原,成效不彰。

我們反對電子道路收費計劃,認為要減少路面擠塞,政府應在規劃土地時做好配套和管理、適量增加泊車位、優化公共交通運輸服務等,才能有效疏導路面,並非以「罪惡徵費」對道路使用者「開刀」,製造中環以外鄰近地區如灣仔、西環塞車,又或迫使貨車在收費區外落貨,再在行人道上推貨物。

何民傑
(原文刊於信報論壇)