With ferry fares set to rise once again on 4 January, 2015, it is important to remember that a fast, convenient and comfortable ferry service to Central District is one of the pillars upon which the success of Discovery Bay rests.
The value of the ferry service has been highlighted once again in recent weeks, as Occupy Central has disrupted traffic across Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. All of us in Discovery Bay continue to enjoy the ferry to reach Central as though nothing has happened.
The sustainability of the ferry service has been an issue ever since the first residents moved in to Discovery Bay in 1983. Faced with mounting losses with the sharp spike in oil prices in 2007-08, the developer unveiled a sweeping “Revamp” of the ferry service in October 2008.
Fortunately, through the hard work of a number of volunteers who served on the Passenger Liaison Group (PLG) — and despite such fierce resistance from the senior executives of Hong Kong Resort Company Limited (HKR) that the head of the ferry company, Eric Chu, lost his job — a more rational fare increase and service adjustment was finally agreed.
The members of the PLG were drawn from the City Owners’ Committee (COC) and Village Owners’ Committees (VOC) at that time. HKR deems that all VOC chairpersons (ie, COC members) are members of the PLG, unless the VOC submits the name of an alternate representative.
Many of the arguments put forward in 2008-09 continue to surface each time a fare increase is proposed. In order to avoid repeating the past, it is useful to have a record of the events of 2008-09. In this post, I present the proposal made by the developer in October 2008, and the response from the Passenger Liaison Group in December 2008. Additional documents will be made available later.