Articles: Road transport

Meter Madness
How HK's policies of pseudo-anonymity and deep under-pricing of metered parking have resulted in a half-baked not-very-smart upgrade to the system, launched yesterday. (19-Jan-2021)
Webb on "Backchat" re white elephants
RTHK, 23-Jun-2018
HK & Macau Governments launch cartels for HKZM bridge car permits
HK Government, 13-Feb-2018
There will be just 150 companies and 150 individuals who win a permit to drive from HK into Macau, and 600 in the other direction. HK permanent residents must have a job in Macau or have established a company there. A ballot will be held if there are more than 300 applicants. There will also be a Macau Port park-and-ride scheme with 3000 spaces, but by the time you've driven, parked and ridden, the ferry to CoTai might well be faster. There will also be a monopoly shuttle-bus franchise on the bridge.
Hong Kong's not-so-free economy
The US-based Heritage Foundation has, as always, ranked HK as the freest economy in the World. For once, the Government doesn't accuse foreign forces of interfering in HK's internal affairs. But this rosy view is not held by those who take the time to study the domestic economy. Here are a few things that Heritage may have overlooked. (4-Feb-2018)
Webb on the Government's under-priced metered parking
South China Morning Post, 28-Dec-2017
HK's Government competes unfairly with commercial parking by charging $8/hr for on-street parking when the private sector nearby charges $30. Proposals to increase that to $4 or $5 per 15 minutes won't make much difference, even if they overcome vested interests in LegCo. Meanwhile criminal gangs corner the meters and rake off the difference as "valet parking".
Webb on "Backchat" re Policy Address
RTHK, 19-Jan-2017
Who bought the 25 new taxi licences on Lantau?
HK Government, 19-Dec-2016
Each tenderer was only allowed to bid for 1 licence, so some groups used multiple companies - it appears that at least 5 licences were bought by Kwok Chung group and 3 by Chung Shing. The average price was HK$5.64m. Any premium demonstrates that there is unmet excess demand. People who wish to drive a vehicle for a living should not have to pay a premium to do so.
Webb on "Backchat" re taxis and other road transport cartels
RTHK, 19-Dec-2016
Note: Sonia Cheng is an Executive Director of Chung Shing Taxi Ltd, which with related companies owns about 350 licences with a rent-seeking value of about HK$2.1bn.
Submission on Electronic Road Pricing
Speak out! Put market forces to work on the roads. Read our response and then tell the Government whether you agree or not. Consultation ends this Friday, 18-Mar-2016. (12-Mar-2016)
Busting HK's road transport cartels Chinese translation
On the day the competition law takes effect, we take a long hard look at the anti-competitive legislation and policies which support a HK$116bn taxi cartel, a $22bn minibus cartel and a $13bn non-franchised bus cartel as well as restricting the hire car market. The Government should scrap all restrictions and franchises, introduce congestion pricing, and allow competition to serve the public interest. (14-Dec-2015)
HKSAR v Alexander Au Pak Cheung
HK Court of First Instance, 22-Jun-2015
Mr Au's conviction is quashed, on a successful challenge to the reliability of LiDAR speed guns due to possible panning errors. The expert defence witness was probably Dr Michael Clark of the UK. We note that at a distance of 131.7 metres as measured, if you are aiming at a registration plate that is 30cm off the ground, a 0.13 degree shift is enough to hit the ground instead. LiDAR doesn't actually measure speed - it measures distance at time intervals, so if you pan the target then you can get a false reading. Incidentally, Mr Au is also a racing driver in the Audi R8 LMS Cup.
11 DCH car testers jailed for forging roadworthiness certificates
ICAC, 16-Jun-2015
HKSAR v Ho Loy
HK Court of First Instance, 10-Jun-2015
The Government fails to convince Judge Zervos that "points of law of great and general importance" are involved in his decision to quash an activist's conviction for ignoring a confusing traffic sign on her bicycle, so he will not certify the case for the Court of Final Appeal. Will the government keep thrashing this horse by going direct to the CFA, or is it definitely dead?
HKSAR v Ho Loy
HK Court of First Instance, 20-Apr-2015
The activist's conviction for failing to comply with a cycling dismount sign is quashed due to non-disclosure by the prosecution of an internal Transport Department report that the sign is ambiguous and confusing. However, Judge Zervos gives her a stern telling-off for being disrespectful to the police.
SCMP howler: 10 times more taxis than you thought
South China Morning Post, 5-Feb-2015
SCMP says "The city's ageing 180,000-strong taxi fleet has triggered competition...". There are in fact 18,138 taxis, a figure unchanged since 1997. The Government restricts supply of taxi and non-franchised bus licenses, distorting the market. A red taxi licence goes for HK$7m and the owners complain about the $250k cost of a vehicle! If we had proper competition then the market would discover what kinds of taxis it needs.
An aerial tour of HK's monopolies and anti-competitive practices
The slides from a presentation by Webb-site founder David Webb to the Asian Competition Forum at Polytechnic University this morning. When you get to slide 30, click the box to launch the online video. (9-Dec-2014)
DCH (1828) trio in court for allegedly forging roadworthiness certificates
ICAC, 14-Jul-2014
This follows the conviction of 11 other employees of the same firm on 30-Dec-2013 for similar offences over the same period.
11 DCH car testers admit forging roadworthiness certificates
ICAC, 30-Dec-2013
ExCo approves Tate's Cairn Tunnel toll increase
HK Government, 14-May-2013
The government considers a post-tax IRR of 6.76% for a road tunnel is "not unreasonable or excessive". So why are the electricity companies making 9.99% after tax, with less risk?
11 Dah Chong Hong (1828) car testers face court
ICAC, 23-Apr-2013
The alternative Budget Speech, 2013: Prosperity through Reform
Webb-site reveals the Hong Kong Budget Speech which should be delivered next Wednesday. (22-Feb-2013)
Webb on "Backchat" re tunnel tolls and (at 45:30) directors' secrecy
RTHK, 30-Jan-2013
Webb on "Backchat" re policy address
RTHK, 17-Jan-2013
With Starry Lee (Executive Council, LegCo, DAB), Albert Ho (LegCo, DP) and Nick Brooke (Harbourfront Commission, Science and Technology Parks Corp).
Government denies cap on number of non-franchised buses
HK Government, 23-May-2012
Govt says "the current policy has not frozen the number of NFBs or imposed a cap" - but unlike the government, the attached figures don't lie: since 2007, the number of NFBs has varied in a range of 7065 to 7071 - a range of 6, or 0.08%. Do they really expect us to believe that this is purely by chance? The NFB market is now building up a premium like taxi licenses have done. This is not a free market.
Citybus franchise
HK Gazette, 11-May-2012
Page 25 shows that the average age of the 172 buses in the fleet at 1-May-2013 is 13.37 years, out of a depreciation schedule of 15 years (p13)
Long Win Bus franchise
HK Gazette, 11-May-2012
Page 25 shows that the average age of the 169 buses in the fleet at 1-May-2013 is 9.0 years, out of a 14-year depreciation schedule (p13).
New World First Bus franchise
HK Gazette, 11-May-2012
Page 25 shows that the average of the the NWFB fleet of 707 vehicles as at 1-Jul-2013 is 11.9 years, out of a 14-year depreciation schedule (p13).
Toll increase at Eastern Harbour Crossing rejected
HK Government, 21-Jun-2011
Arrangement for First Registration Tax of Private Cars
HK Government, 15-Jun-2011
Submission to Bills Committee of Legislative Council on Motor Vehicles (First Registration Tax) (Amendment) Bill 2011
Webb-site editor David Webb will attend the Bills Committee meeting at 2.30pm on 12-May-2011. This is our submission. (6-May-2011)
Traffic Truths
The Government's budget proposal on private car First Registration Tax is based on a false premise, and will not achieve its stated objective of congestion reduction. Our research shows that despite higher ownership, private cars occupy less of the roadspace than they did in 2000. We call for a fundamental review of road transport policy and make proposals to achieve a reduction in congestion and road traffic pollution. (13-Apr-2011)
Euro V duty waiver 'just drop in bucket'
HK Standard, 24-Jun-2008
The Government's climb-down comes just 13 days after container truck drivers blocked Queen's Road Central in protest.
Truckers bring chaos to Central
HK Standard, 11-Jun-2008
HK to put electronic toll takers in streets
New York Times, 7-Apr-1983

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