In an effort to make the mostly empty Zhuhai bridge look useful, the authorities are going to allow private cars to drive across the zillion-dollar infrastructure boondoggle. At least that’s how the SCMP reports it.
In fact, this will only apply to cars that already have cross-border permits. There are some 30,000 such vehicles (including trucks and buses), currently restricted to designated land boundary control points. (Quite a few, it seems, are already eligible to use the HK-Macau-Zhuhai White Elephant, but given the nightmarishly Kafa-esque permit quagmire, and perhaps a lack of compelling reasons to go to Zhuhai, few do.)
To put it into perspective, an extra 40 – yes, forty – Hong Kong cars will be eligible under the first phase of this initiative.
As the SCMP item mentions, bus operators are also struggling on the bridge, as are truckers. Has it occurred to anyone that it could make an amazing cycle path?
There is talk of allowing all 600,000 or so private cars in Hong Kong to use the bridge, but capacity constraints at either end (plus multiple immigration checks) make this pretty much impossible. One desperate solution to ‘maximize’ bridge usage is a system where car owners book a slot ahead of time.
All this is meaningless, of course, to the 90% of Hong Kong households that do not own a private car. Hong Kong’s transport planners are largely unaware of their existence – so spending thousands of man-hours devising a highly complex policy for 40 cars seems like a really cool idea.
Breaking news for that 90%: the Curfew Control Commissar will allow you to use the MTR up to 11.00pm tonight!