For Immediate Release
Free Ride Day kicked off this morning as part of celebrations to mark the 157th anniversary of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC). The event provides free rides on 29 November on the trams and the Star Ferry routes from Tsim Sha Tsui to Wan Chai and Central.
Chamber Chairman Aron Harilela, CEO Shirley Yuen, members of the Chamber’s General Committee and representatives from member companies officially launched the event at Hongkong Tramways Sai Wan depot.
“We are delighted once again to welcome everyone in Hong Kong to enjoy free rides all day on the trams and Star Ferries,” said Chamber Chairman Aron Harilela.
“HKGCC is celebrating 157 years of working for the Hong Kong business community. The trams and the Star Ferries have also been helping the people of Hong Kong for more than 100 years, so it is appropriate that we team up on this special occasion.”
Since the 150th anniversary of HKGCC in 2011 onwards, around 2 million people have benefited from free travel on the trams and ferries.
Standing next to the antique trams, looking to the traffic in Hong Kong, the HKGCC Chairman took the opportunity to consider Hong Kong’s whole transport network.
“These historic and charming trams and ferries also form crucial parts of Hong Kong’s transport network, which is the envy of the world. But one area where we do not do so well is road congestion – particularly between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island,” said Harilela.
“In Hong Kong, we like to be on the move, and we certainly don’t enjoy being stuck in traffic. So we are pleased to see that the Government is taking action to relieve our road bottlenecks by adjusting the tariffs on our three cross-harbour tunnels.”
The Government plans to increase tariffs on the Cross Harbour Tunnel and Eastern Harbour Crossing, and reduce the toll on the less busy Western Harbour Tunnel.
“Congestion is a long-standing problem,” Harilela said. “We hope that these tariff changes will ease the long traffic queues that waste time, cause economic inefficiency and increase air pollution.”
HKGCC also appreciates the Government’s recognition that increased traffic in the Western Harbour Tunnel could exacerbate congestion in Sheung Wan and Central.
“The Western Harbour Tunnel is a vital connector between the airport and Central,” said Yuen. “So we are pleased to note that the tariff adjustments will only come into effect once the Central-Wan Chai bypass is completed. This shows that the Government is taking a holistic view of the city’s traffic problems.”
Yuen also gave thanks to media partners Cable TV and Hong Kong Open TV under Hong Kong Cable Enterprises Limited, Metro Broadcast Corporation Limited, and Sing Tao Daily, Headline Daily and The Standard under the Sing Tao Group, for their assistance in publicising Free Ride Day.
Photo 1: HKGCC Chairman Aron Harilela, Vice Chairman Leland Sun, LegCo Representative Jeffrey Lam, CEO Shirley Yuen, General Committee members and representatives from sponsoring companies officially kick off Free Ride Day at a ceremony in Sai Wan this morning.
Photo 2: Chamber Chairman Aron Harilela, Vice Chairman Leland Sun, CEO Shirley Yuen and General Committee members enjoy a trip on a historic tram for Free Ride Day to mark the Chamber’s 157th Anniversary.
Photo 3: Chamber leaders greet passengers and hand out HKGCC souvenirs on board the Star Ferry.
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