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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:05 pm 
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The Transport Dept. is doing a survey about the Aberdeen ferry service. A Pak-Kokian writes:

"We were happy to see four young people conducting surveys on the Pak Kok ferry today.

"They were very polite but unfortunately they were
a) extremely shy
b) hesitant about approaching people
c) not confident in their use of English to understand questions posed to them.

"I have one of the surveys (a copy of which I attach) and will be distributing it amongst the villagers in Pak Kok and Yung Shue Wan. I will ask them to return the completed surveys to your offices."


Here's the survey:
http://www.compunicate.com/Lamma/Blog/Ferry-survey/Aberdeen-Ferry-survey.gif

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:04 pm 
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Sorry, can't read the survey. Would love to fill it in. The Aberdeen route is in dire need of improvement. :P


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:05 pm 
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If it's hard to read then your web browser is shrinking down the image to fit into the window. The form is large and finely scanned. Simply click on it to enlarge it and print it out in landscape format. Fill it in and hand it back to me, I'll forward it.

The filled-in forms could all be collected in The Island Bar, for example.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:45 pm 
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Thanks for the info on that survey, i was fortunate to be able to read it. Glad to see that the feedback from various friends and acquaintances' complaints is actually being taken seriously. I heard tonight there was a similar situation on a YSw ferry although with a similar comment on the general nervousness of the folks in charge of taking the said surveys. anyone got any updates?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:13 pm 
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Lamma-Gung wrote:
The filled-in forms could all be collected in The Island Bar, for example.


I suppose there's a reason they aren't making them available and collecting them at the ticket booth on the pier?

But I've seen far too many of these kind of questionnaires and such to believe they're anything more than a perfunctory exercise that will be ignored, or selectively quoted to support whatever they planned to do anyway.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:30 pm 
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From Living Lamma:

"Dan and Sharon (Island Bar & The Waterfront) have been doing some lobbying on the ferries and Sharon has done a tremendous job in helping to prepare a draft letter from Living Lamma (see below). As with all these things, the government only acts when bombarded, so please feel free to write/fax/phone to support this issue. [budget@gov.hk]. There are example letters below.

"If you think the ferries are fine and there's no problem with them, be aware that there will be another tender process next year and we might not be so lucky next time. Here's the story so far....(thanks Sharon!)"

<HR>
Following an arduous, shambolic and at times acrimonious process in 2007-08 of meetings with government (mostly the Transport Department), tendering, meetings, re-tendering and the like, we secured a largely acceptable ferry service which we currently enjoy. Our current ferry services for Lamma and all outlying islands will be re-tendered next year. The Financial Secretary, John Tsang, has issued a general invitation for public comment and input via his website <http://www.budget.gov.hk> in regard to his 2010-11 Budget, to be delivered on 24 February.

The Opportunity

Simply put, we now have a shrinking window of opportunity to make our voices heard by the man who holds the purse strings for the government coffers containing billions of dollars in surplus funds, some of which need to be allocated to serving the people who live on and visit the outlying islands. You may register your concern in a single sentence or in several paragraphs, using simple logic or with heartfelt passion, and doing so now will at the least put us on record as having registered our wishes before the budget was finalised and at best help to secure the necessary government funding to ensure safe, reliable and affordable ferry services for the long term.

Do It Now

The samples below may provide some inspiration for your own submission. Simply log into <www.budget.gov.hk>, choose the channel (email/ fax/ phone) you wish to use and make your voice heard now, when and where it counts.
<HR>
Living Lamma's Letter

By Email to budget@fstb.gov.hk: 11th February 2010

Dear Financial Secretary,

Life for everyone on the outlying islands relies upon the ferry services. These are currently not subsidised in any way, nor do they receive financial support from Government in the form of capital injection other than through the provision of ferry piers.

This is a missed opportunity. There would be significant environmental and commercial gains were the ferry services to be given greater support. The boats themselves could be improved to cut emissions and the ferry piers could renovated to include more retail/restaurant space. There could also be more inter-island services to support tourism.

Other forms of transport receive support, be it directly or indirectly. Buses, taxis and trams are given free, well maintained roads. Some have received cash injection to allow them to use modified fuel which is better for the environment. MTR receives capital grants and is allocated property to develop.

To date, the Transport Department has held the view that a policy does not allow subsidies to be given to public transport. However, whichever way the Government chooses to word this, it is still clear that the ferry services are out on a limb whilst other modes of public transport are given assistance to ensure their safe, regular and ongoing operations.

The last ferry tendering process turned out to be a debacle and has resulted in total inequality of services on different routes.

We on Lamma suffer a long and very uncomfortable journey if we need to travel to Aberdeen. The service is infrequent and as a result is less frequently used, causing commuters to clog up the roads unnecessarily when traveling to Aberdeen via Central. Effectively, there is no convenient access for Lamma residents to Aberdeen shops and facilities, schools in the areas and Ocean Park.

The direct service to Central is much more acceptable but we are all waiting with bated breath to see how the next tendering process will be handled and if indeed we will be made to suffer a further reduction in this essential service. Ferry routes to other islands are also troubled by lack of Government support.

We note that you are inviting comments from the public for the preparation of your budget and we hope you will address this issue which is at the heart of life on the islands since there is a clear conflict between support for public transport on Hong Kong and Kowloon versus that for the outlying islands.

Yours sincerely,
Jo Wilson - Secretary - Living Lamma
http://www.livinglamma.org - Tel: 2982 0920
<HR>
Some other letters that have been sent to John Tsang. You might want to use these to base your own letter on.

1) Among other undoubtedly worthy issues you will have to deal with, I wish to request that you make financial provision now for the provision and operation later of a safe, efficient and affordable public transport system for the outlying islands from 2011 and beyond.

As you may be aware, the tendering process in 2007/08 was an unsatisfactory and unnecessarily unpleasant process, and the current ferry services will again come up for tender in 2011. I urge you to consider the various options now open to government, specifically including the establishment of a public corporation similar to the MTR to own, manage and operate this essential public service.

I will be pleased to discuss this in more depth with you or your direct representative, with a view to engaging in a productive session and/or process and achieving a satisfactory solution well in advance of the deadline imposed by the contract date.

Thank you for your kind consideration.
<HR>
2) Your invitation to comment on the upcoming budget is very welcome.

As the [owner / manager] of a business on Lamma Island I would request that the ferry services which run between Yung Shue Wan and Central and Yung Shue Wan and Aberdeen be addressed. These services are integral to the operation of any business on Lamma and to people who commute to Hong Kong for work and school.

Whilst the service has generally improved over the past 15 years, we still face a problem with the renewal of services every two or three years when the routes are put up to tender. I believe it would be expedient for the Government to put aside funds now so that we do not face the same dilemma in forthcoming tenders as in the previous tendering operation.

Since Government provides financial assistance to bus operators, the trams and taxis (roads) and rail operators (in the form of land), I would request that similar assistance is given to ferry operators.

Lamma is suffering greatly from a much reduced and lengthened service to Aberdeen since the last tendering process. The route to Central, whilst certainly acceptable and affordable at present, must not be further reduced vis-à-vis fewer sailings.

We have noted a decided downturn to our business since the reduction in sailings to Aberdeen . I believe now is the time for Government to step in and make arrangements to ensure the future of our ferry routes so they are safe, affordable, efficient and sufficient in number of sailings for the coming years. The upcoming budget should address this issue.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:57 pm 
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WE DON'T WANT MORE TOURISTS WE WANT LESS TOURISTS
STUFF YOUR BUSINESS WE LIVE HERE - I THINK MOST PEOPLE WOULD AGREE

The place was nicer when there were less ferries - under HKYF -peace and quiet on the weekends -WOW.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:19 pm 
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poilkoop wrote:
WE DON'T WANT MORE TOURISTS WE WANT LESS TOURISTS
STUFF YOUR BUSINESS WE LIVE HERE - I THINK MOST PEOPLE WOULD AGREE

The place was nicer when there were less ferries - under HKYF -peace and quiet on the weekends -WOW.


If you left it to the ferry companies to decide the schedules, we'd get just as many ferries on the weekend and half as many on weekdays. The weekends are the profitable runs.

Anyway, the government pays more attention to businessmen than the rest of us, so dress it up like that if you want to get noticed.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:51 pm 
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What I would like to know from the government is: Why is ferry transportation not tax-deductable???

In general, travel from home to the work place is excluded from tax claims.
However, this doesn not take into consideration the special situation that outlying island residents find themselves in - where ferry transport is the ONLY means to get to any workplace off the island...

Make monthly ferry fees deductable from income tax - now!


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:26 pm 
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Quote:
The boats themselves could be improved to cut emissions
...
Other forms of transport receive support, be it directly or indirectly. Buses, taxis and trams are given free, well maintained roads. Some have received cash injection to allow them to use modified fuel which is better for the environment.

Yah really. I have noticed the irony in the past of stepping out of one of these super green LPG taxis or buses and straight onto a ferry that very conspicuously ejects a soot-black cloud into the harbour.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:24 pm 
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Spy wrote:
What I would like to know from the government is: Why is ferry transportation not tax-deductable???

In general, travel from home to the work place is excluded from tax claims.
However, this doesn not take into consideration the special situation that outlying island residents find themselves in - where ferry transport is the ONLY means to get to any workplace off the island...

Make monthly ferry fees deductable from income tax - now!


Yes, that way those earning over $30,000 a month get a deduction, and those who earn $5000 a month, students, pensioners, etc, will get nothing.

Excellent way to increase HK's Gini coefficient.

But I'm personally in favour of a general subsidy for ferries as all other forms of public transport get large subsidies, usually hidden in the form of land grants and such so the govt can deny it's doing so. I don't really care how they fiddle it, but it would be fair to subsidise EVERYONE's ferry ticket.


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