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LCQ19: Design and locations of bus shelters

    Following is a question by the Hon Frederick Fung and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Dr Sarah Liao, at the Legislative Council meeting today (October 26):


     It has been reported that in recent years bus stops erected on the roadside in urban areas by franchised bus companies have become bigger in size and occupy larger areas on the pavements, and many of them are installed with illuminated advertisement boxes and other advertising decorations which obstruct the pavements and the view, causing inconvenience to pedestrians and operators of nearby shops.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the number of complaints received by the authorities in the past three years about the size of and installations at bus stops, and whether the authorities and the bus companies have followed up these complaints;
(b) whether, in addition to their building structure and electrical installations, the design and size, etc, of bus stops erected by franchised bus companies are also regulated by the authorities, and whether they have assessed the impact of these bus stops on pedestrians and shop operators; and

(c) whether it will regulate the installation of illuminated advertisement boxes and other advertising decorations by franchised bus companies at their bus stops to earn advertising revenue, and whether appropriate fees will be imposed on them so as to prevent the public places occupied by bus stops from being used by bus companies to make profits?


Madam President,

     In the past three years, the Transport Department "TD" has received a total of 15 complaints concerning individual bus shelters causing obstruction to pavements or nearby shops and has taken follow up investigation.  Investigation into 13 of these cases were completed.  Among these cases, five out of the bus stops concerned were found causing obstruction to waiting passengers.  TD has subsequently asked the franchised bus companies concerned to take improvement measures.  Bus companies have immediately either removed the advertisement panels or replaced the existing shelters with other appropriate designs.  Investigation to another eight complaints indicated that no obstruction to pavements or nearby shops was caused.  The two remaining cases are being investigated by TD.

     The layout of and material of the bus stops and shelters are subject to assessment and vetting by the Advisory Committee on Appearance of Bridges and Associated Structures ("the Committee") set up under the Highways Department ("HyD").  The Committee is primarily tasked to scrutinise individual design proposals for bridges and associated structures from the aesthetic visual and greening points of view and to accept proposals or recommend design revisions on behalf of the Director of Highways.  Bus shelter is a roadside structure and therefore its appearance is subject to the approval of the Committee which consists of representatives from relevant Government departments, the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, Departments of  Architecture of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Hong Kong as well as School of Design of the Hong Kong Polytechnic.  Since the physical conditions of various pavements, such as width of the pavement, layout of underground utilities and pedestrian flow, etc. vary, franchised bus companies have drawn up a number of designs on bus stops and shelters to meet different pavement conditions.

     It is necessary for franchised bus companies to seek approval from TD before installing a bus shelter at any location.  When submitting the application, a company needs to provide information on its proposal in relation to the location and shelter design of the bus stop, size of the stop and number of advertisement panels.  Upon receipt of the application, TD will examine the implication of the proposal on pedestrian flow, sightline of other road users as well as impact on the nearby shops and seek the views from all departments concerned.  Home Affairs Department, for instance, will consult the nearby shops and the local community concerned and HyD will examine the implication of the proposed bus stops on other road works.

     Bus shelter is provided mainly to improve the waiting environment of passengers by protecting passengers from rain and sunshine.  Light box extended from the bus shelter can be used for displaying service details and other information for passengers' reference.  Since bus companies need to bear the costs for installation and maintenance of bus stops, the Government normally raises no objection to the installation of advertisement panels at bus shelters provided that service details are appropriately displayed at the bus stops and that pedestrian flow and business operation of nearby shops will not be affected.  According to the current regulating arrangements for franchised bus companies, revenue generated from advertisement will credit to the overall revenue of the companies to help relieving the pressure for fare increase.

Ends/Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Issued at HKT 16:43


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