A controversial proposal to take Hong Kong's iconic 110-year-old trams off the roads in Central district to reduce traffic congestion has been heavily criticised online.
The proposal, made by a retired government town planner, suggests removing trams and getting rid of tracks and stops would free up space for other vehicles on some of Hong Kong Island's busiest roads, including Des Voeux Road Central and Queensway.
Retired town planner Sit Kwok-keung gave the proposal to the Town Planning Board last month. He said trams occupied about 30 per cent of the surface area of the roads where they operated, and removing them could significantly improve traffic in the district. Sit said now that the MTR's West Island Line had opened, trams serving the area could be phased out.
"We should stop embracing something old and flawed but instead view the issue from a development perspective," he said.
But community groups, green activists and land use concern groups yesterday voiced their opposition to the idea. They have formed the Save the Tram Alliance, calling on the board to reject Sit's application. Internet users also rejected the idea of scrapping a form of transport beloved by many Hongkongers. They say the trams, named "ding-dings" for the sound of their bells, have been an important transport option for residents.
"The tram has 110 years of history. How can we remove it?" a user named hermanqk said in a post on a local forum.