26 April 2008

Hong Kong vs. Toronto

The issue? Public Transport (or lack of it currently).

In light of the sudden transit union strike in Toronto, it made me think what would happen in Hong Kong if the same thing happened. I'm not sure if you are even allowed to strike in Hong Kong, but it would be quite the mess if it was possible. I thought everyone in Canada has a car? What's the big deal? This just makes the oil companies smile even more as people are forced even more to use their own vehicles. It's no big surprise people have little faith in public transport in Canada.

My favorite thing about Hong Kong has got to be how easy it is to get around. Not only is there the MTR/KCR(kcr = mtr now), the city has many double-decker buses, mini-buses, trams, and ferries, not to mention the thousands of taxis you never have to wait for, not even a minute in most cases. The MTR (subway for you North Americans) operates so efficiently you never have to wait more than 5 minutes. During rush-hour the trains come continuously. Did I mention it is also probably the cleanest subway in the world?

I can hear all you doubters now, "Oh it must be soooo expensive to ride the train, ferries must charge an arm and a leg!"


You can take the MTR virtually anywhere in the major areas of the city for less than $2 CDN/US, anywhere! It costs less than $1 to go anywhere within the main HK Island. To cross Victoria Harbour costs about 25cents. An average bus or mini-bus ride is also less than $1. In a word, it is CHEAP!

If their was one city in the world that every city should be based on in terms of infrastructure and planning, Hong Kong would be it. It is extremely easy to go anywhere and it costs next to nothing compared to driving to and from work in any personal vehicle. Yes the buses do pollute, so I would like to see them banned from HK Island and Kowloon as they are not needed. Mini-buses are perfectly capable of getting people to and from the short distances from the main train stations. All they need are more of them, and less or NO personal cars in the major urban areas. The MTR already has plans for expansion to other areas of the city that will only enhance it's extreme efficiency.

Now, back to that strike in Toronto.

I understand why the union wants to strike, but they really should not have the right to. They have every right to turn down a contract, but effecting people whose lives depend on their service should be illegal. What would happen if hospitals and doctors decided to shut their doors with only one hour notice? I don't think anyone would be too happy. Everyone wonders why the public transport system is so crappy in Canada, but it's very simple to see if things like this are allowed to happen.

It's sad that every city can't have amazing bus and train services like Winnipeg...cough! cough! cough, snicker.... snicker...hack....hack.......Oh man........cough.....cough....cough...

Seriously, Hong Kong MTR rocks! (too bad MTR also stands for Mass Transfer of Rarediseaseslikesars.)

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