“Since early September traffic congestion along King’s Road has been terrible,” the South China Morning Post reported on October 10, 1979. “Residents of Taikoo Shing have to leave home before 6.45am to queue for the No 21 bus in order to reach Central at around 9 (…) The Transport Commissioner does not seem to realise the plight of people living in these areas.”
On December 28, a Post article outlined planned services between Taikoo Shing and Central. “The Transport Department spokes-man revealed that a suitable site in Taikoo Shing for a ferry pier has now been found and ferry services should begin next year.”
The Taikoo Shing Ferry Pier was inaugur-a-ted on August 12, 1980, operating services to Central and Kowloon City. However, “complaints rang louder than congratula-tions”, according to an August 13 Post report.
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“Hoverferry service will put Taikoo Shing within 12 minutes of Central and thousands of commuters are expected to take to the new water route. But speakers at the opening ceremony warned water-borne transport offers no real solution to the massive traffic snarls plaguing Hongkong Island’s eastern corridor,” ran the article.
“In case the public is misled into thinking that we have now satisfactorily solved land problems by using the sea, let me sound a word of warning. The temporary pier we are opening here today is to be reclaimed in two years’ time,” said Lau Chan-kwok, managing director of Hongkong and Yaumati Ferry (HYF), at the event.
As promised, the fast hoverferry service from Taikoo Shing to Central was cancelled in 1983, leaving residents “up in arms”, according to an October 12 Post article. A spokesman for HYF said it cut the service “because the Swire Group stopped subsidising the expensive operation”.
However, “Taikoo Shing residents angry at the loss of the hoverferry service to Central have the reclamation of Saiwanho Bay to blame – not Swire Properties,” reported the Post the following day.
“It’s a nuisance, and a pity, but our interests coincide with those of the residents and of HYF,” said David Mahoney, a general manager with Swire Properties.
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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.
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