" The Government is fully prepared for 24-hour passenger clearance at the Lok Ma Chau Control Point with effect from January 27, 2003, i.e. after midnight on January 26, 2003, as announced by the Chief Executive ,Mr Tung Chee Hwa, in his policy address," a Government spokesman said today (January 8).
The average hourly passenger volume is initially estimated to be about 1 000 and the traffic volume is expected to be smaller in the period between 0200 hrs and 0500 hrs. The average waiting time for different types of passengers will be about 5 to 15 minutes.
During the overnight period from 0000 hrs to 0630 hrs, the Immigration Department will open 10 counters (5 arrival and 5 departure counters). Depending on passenger volume, contra-flow (tidal) arrangement will be operated under which arrival counters may be deployed for departure clearance or vice versa.
In addition, two inspection lanes (one for each direction) will be open for clearance of private cars at the Lok Ma Chau Control Point.
"The Immigration Department, Customs & Excise Department and Police are well-prepared and will redeploy sufficient manpower to cope with the passenger and vehicular traffic during the overnight period. They will closely monitor the actual passenger traffic and deploy necessary manpower and the counters flexibly to facilitate maximum convenience to passengers," the spokesman said.
"The Customs and Excise Department will provide normal clearance services for both passengers and private cars. The Police will maintain law and order at the San Tin Public Transport Interchange and the Lok Ma Chau Control Point.
"The Security Bureau together with the relevant operating departments had met with the relevant Guangdong and Shenzhen authorities lately. The two sides had notified each other of the preparations being made and are confident that effective overnight service will be maintained for the travelling public. Both sides will maintain close communication through established means including the use of the hotline for exchange of information. Both sides will take necessary measures to ensure the smooth flow of passengers," the spokesman added.
As regards transport arrangements, the Lok Ma Chau-Huanggang Cross Boundary Shuttle Bus Service (the "Yellow Bus") will commence 24-hour service with effect from 0000 hrs on January 27, 2003. In the extended 6.5 hours, it will provide services at 10 to 15-minute frequencies. The single journey fare of $7.0 will remain unchanged. "The Government will also introduce a trial scheme for operation of urban and NT taxis to the Lok Ma Chau Control Point in a regulated manner during the extended hours. The commencement date of the trial scheme will be announced as soon as possible. We are also considering the introduction of a similar trial scheme for public light buses," the spokesman added.
The spokesman said, " The Transport Department has also arranged with the operators of the existing feeder services to provide 24-hour services to Lok Ma Chau (San Tin) Public Transport Interchange. The three feeder public transport services are: KMB Route 277 to Yuen Long West; GMB Route 44B to Tuen Mun and GMB Route 77 to Tin Shui Wai. In addition, the operator of the existing bus route 76K which plies through San Tin will introduce a shortworking overnight service between Sheung Shui and San Tin.
" Passengers may also make use of urban and NT taxi services as well as public light bus services to and from the San Tin Public Transport Interchange to interchange to the Yellow Bus for Lok Ma Chau Control Point."
At present, cross boundary coach services provide direct and point-to-point services from different areas in Hong Kong to the main cities in the Pearl River Delta. For the coming Lunar New Year, the HKSAR Government has agreed with the Mainland authorities to issue ad hoc coach overnight quotas for existing operators to apply in order to meet passenger demand. In the longer run, the HKSAR Government will discuss with the Mainland authorities to invite qualified operators to apply for additional regular overnight coach quota so as to facilitate both the Hong Kong and Mainland citizens to travel to and from Hong Kong and Pearl River Delta Region any time of the day.
Transport Department will closely monitor and review the service level and passenger demand for public transport services following 24-hour operation of the Lok Ma Chau Crossing. Services will be strengthened to meet passenger demand as necessary.
Agreement has also been reached between the Mainland and HKSAR to increase the frequency of the Hong Kong-Guangzhou through train from seven to eight pairs per day. The Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation and its Mainland counterpart will hold discussion with a view to launching the eighth pair of trains as soon as possible. The exact implementation date and additional train service schedule will be announced later. The HKSAR Government and the Mainland will continue to closely monitor the need of the travellers and increase the train frequencies gradually as appropriate.
The spokesman said, "Passengers should note that the opening hours at other boundary control points will remain unchanged."
End/Wednesday, January 8, 2003