LCQ8: Transport of Tseung Kwan O

     Following is a question by the Hon Ip Kwok-him and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (February 17):


     One of the highlights of this year's Policy Address is to increase housing supply.  The Government has indicated that it will conduct re-planning for the development of the land at Tseung Kwan O Area 137 and examine the feasibility of making use of the land concerned for housing, commercial and other development purposes.  Moreover, some academics have estimated that Area 137 can accommodate a population of about 100 000.  At present, the population of Sai Kung District (including Tseung Kwan O) has already exceeded 460 000, and it is expected that upon the successive completion of the private housing estates near Area 137, the population of the district will exceed 500 000.  Some members of the public are worried that the additional population will put immense pressure on the external transport services of Tseung Kwan O.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it knows the respective hourly patronage on the MTR Tseung Kwan O Line during the morning and evening commuting peak hours at present, and the average number of trains for which a passenger awaiting to board a train has to wait during those hours before they can do so; whether the Government has assessed if the carrying capacity of the Tseung Kwan O Line can meet the extra transport demand to be brought about by the additional population;

(2) whether it will propose to the MTR Corporation Limited that the Tseung Kwan O Line be extended to run via a new MTR station to be built in Area 137 and further connected to an MTR station on Hong Kong Island (e.g. Chai Wan Station or Shau Kei Wan Station), so as to make it more convenient for the residents of Tseung Kwan O to travel to and from Hong Kong Island; if it will, of the specific work schedule; if not, the reasons for that; and

(3) whether it will consider revising the alignment of the Tseung Kwan O - Lam Tin Tunnel, which is under planning, to extend it to Area 137, so as to meet the external transport demand of the residents in that area and nearby; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     My reply to the various parts of the Hon Ip Kwok-him's question is as follows:

(1) According to the information provided by the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL), the passenger throughput of the busiest section (viz. between Yau Tong Station and Quarry Bay Station) of the Tseung Kwan O Line was about 46 400 and 38 600 per hour during the morning (around 8.15am to 9.15am) and evening peaks (around 6.15pm to 7.15pm) respectively from Monday to Friday in 2015.  The MTRCL advises that based on on-site observation, the vast majority of passengers are able to board the first two arriving trains during the morning and evening peaks when the train services are in normal operation.  However, passenger riding habits during peak hours have changed in recent years.  Some passengers may be reluctant to board the first arriving train that looks crowded even when there is still room available, and would prefer waiting for the second arriving train.  The Government will continue to closely monitor the changes in transport demand following the further development of Tseung Kwan O.  Meanwhile, the MTRCL awarded the signalling system replacement contract in March 2015 to replace the signalling systems of seven railway lines.  The replacement works of Tseung Kwan O Line is expected to complete in 2021.  Upon the full commissioning of the upgrading of signalling systems of the seven railway lines in 2026, the overall carrying capacity can be enhanced by about 10 per cent.

(2) The Government has been identifying suitable land for the long-term development (including the housing development) of Hong Kong.  In view of this, the Planning Department and Civil Engineering and Development Department will conduct a planning and engineering (P&E) study with a view to re-planning Tseung Kwan O Area 137, which is a sizeable piece of land in the urban area with potential for large-scale developments.  According to information from the Development Bureau, the P&E study will comprise a series of reviews and assessments on such aspects as planning, infrastructure, transport and environment.  Recommendations will also be made on appropriate measures to alleviate potential impacts that may be caused by the proposed developments.  The Development Bureau anticipates that the P&E study will be commissioned in end 2016/early 2017 the earliest.  As regards whether the MTRCL should construct an extension of the Tseung Kwan O Line which runs via a new MTR station to be built in Area 137 and further connected to an MTR station on Hong Kong Island, it is believed that such proposal could be examined in the P&E study. The Transport and Housing Bureau and relevant departments will closely monitor the progress of the P&E study, and evaluate the feasibility of proposed measures which form the basis for planning the transport infrastructure required.

(3) The Tseung Kwan O - Lam Tin Tunnel (TKO-LTT) connects Po Shun Road and the proposed Cross Bay Link, Tseung Kwan O (CBL) in the east and the Eastern Harbour Crossing (EHC) and Cha Kwo Ling Road of Kwun Tong in the west.  We will strive to seek funding approval for the construction of the TKO-LTT within this legislative year with a view to commencing construction works in 2016 for completion in 2021.  In the future, residents of Tseung Kwan O Area 137 and nearby areas will be able to travel to East Kowloon via Wan Po Road, the CBL and the TKO-LTT, and travel to Eastern District via EHC.

Ends/Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Issued at HKT 14:00