A whole 40 cars! Yippee!

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!

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11 Responses to A whole 40 cars! Yippee!

  1. Beentheredonethat says:

    “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 …”

    Yep, it took the missus two and a half hours to reach Kwun Tong from Sai Kung this morning (by minibus & MTR) due to traffic jams. At times of year when people are not dropping their offspring at school the journey can be covered in as little as 40 minutes. Surely this is a basis for planning of some kind but …

  2. Des Espoir says:

    The HK Government is so enamoured of the motor industry and caring for the comfort and convenience of car users that they for example refuse to install speed bumps, on the grounds that “if speed bumps are taken too fast, it might cause damage to the vehicle or discomfort to the occupants..”

  3. Big Al says:

    All government needs to do is to follow what the MTRC has been doing for a while. Namely, “conduct a joint risk assessment with relevant government departments” and decide to close the Huanggang/Lok Ma Chau and Shenzhen Bay vehicle crossings. Hey presto, lots of traffic on HZMB! What could possibly go wrong?

  4. I have actually crossed the bridge by private car – a relative has a permit. We saw probably fewer than half a dozen other vehicles on the entire journey, so I don’t think advance booking will be necessary for some considerable time to come. If you’re going to Zhuhai, the bridge may be useful; if your ultimate destination is Macau, it’s not worth the extra time going through Zhuhai immigration twice (in and out) – far quicker to take the ferry direct.

  5. Steve Mc Garret says:

    I wonder what percentage of civil servants own a car, more than 10% I would guess. One plus from the protests is that the kids have removed the railings that herd pedestrians into road crossings so people can cross the road as they please.

  6. Mr Miyagi says:

    The bridge is made for tanks. It’s as simple as that.

  7. moohamedian says:

    imagine if a startup existed that was able to track car usage and point to point delivery of people. then you could monitor traffic flow. and offer compelling alternatives to cross border travelers. oh right they made uber illegal. sorry.

  8. Stanley Lieber says:

    @Steve McGarrett

    Amen and alleluia!

    Temporary tape is already being strung at a furious pace between the denuded poles to try to hem people back in again.

    Apparently the thought of pedestrians crossing the street on their own without government permission drives them crazy!

    The traffic lights in Causeway Bay were inoperable for about two days recently. Vehicular traffic and pedestrian traffic flowed much more smoothly.

    We can’t be having that, can we?

    It reminded me of Central during Occupy: pedestrians only. No cars, trucks or buses. Quiet. Peaceful. It was bliss.

  9. Guest says:

    @Mr Miyagi: it’s also vulnerable to air strikes if a war breaks out between China and…

  10. All tank and no think makes Zhang a dull boy says:

    @Mr Miyagi
    No point — all the tanks they’ll need are in Shenzhen. Anymore will come by rail: Shenzhen again.

    Also, strategically a couple of GBU-12 s dropped at either end of that bridge knocks out hundreds of tanks in one go.

  11. Casira says:

    @All tank: There’s no proof the bridge would handle the weight of a single tank. The artificial island near the airport is empty yet it’s already sinking.

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