Well, it is greener than the conventional diesel engine one. But for the in-harbour route according to one consultancy report submitted to the Environmental Protection Department, we should also look at the electric ferry as well. So I think for now we have a greener ferry, but we still have the option to invent more, you know, to have an even greener ferry to buy that our clean air.
According to the Star Ferry, the emission produced by the diesel-electric vessel was cut by around half over the past two months. But it cost 8 million dollars to transform the ferry. Would you say this is a good value for money?
It depends on how people look at clean air and public health. At the moment, we experience COVID-19 we know the importance of living quality and it’s not just about economics.
If we look at the image of the city, and if we are going to revive the city’s economy through tourism, I think it may make sense to invest more to buy the clean air, not to mention all public health benefit.
The Star Ferry is planning to convert another old ferry into a diesel-electric vessel later on. Is this the way to go? I mean, are other countries doing the same?
Yes. Indeed, we are going to look at the situation in Hong Kong. Because in-harbour ferry the distance is not that long, so I definitely say we should also look at the electric ferry.
And I think at the moment if the other concern is whether the government should pay even more to buy that the clean air. I would say we welcome the idea there are two advantages: the commuters do not have to pay a lot more for a greener ferry. Secondly, the operator would be willing to do the shift. If we are not going to get the operators on board, the process only is restored like what we see on road transport.
Janice: The government to actually contributed around 3 million dollars for its pilot green transport fund for this ferry transformation. Do you think the government should focus on other more popular public transportation? For example, buses and taxis.
Yes. Indeed, for road transport, it is in closer proximity to even more population in Hong Kong. I think the transition period should be made and at first, it should be co-funded by the government and the operator. And then it should be the incentive at the start. Eventually, the incentive should give away to regulation and phase out all the old polluting technology. So definitely we’ll say yes to transformation to electric or hydrogen franchised bus. There is urgently need for Hong Kong for cleaner roadside air quality.