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public transport nuisance

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  • Telfer
    Hong Kong has a reputation for having a good public transport system.Car ownership is relatively low, though increasing, with never-ending expansions of
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 2, 2001
      Hong Kong has a reputation for having a good public transport system.Car
      ownership is relatively low, though increasing, with never-ending expansions
      of road-building. But as a reminder that public transport can be exploited
      and warped to the extent of near unnacceptability consider this:

      The third and last of the major bus companies is following the other two
      which have introduced what they call MultiMediaOnboard. This is TV screens
      broadcasting pop videos, film trailers, and straightforward in-your- face
      advertising. Needless to say this material is pretty well at the lowest
      common denominator of taste .The loudspeakers are all over the bus so that
      it is impossible to escape the extremely irritating noise even if you can
      avoid looking at the screens. Despite numerous and widespread complaints
      from passengers the bus companies are defended in this dumbing down of
      civic
      life by the Government. It is claimed to be a "value-added service" to
      passengers. The revenue from the advertising is claimed to be used to
      finance and enhance the bus service. The rail operators are in on the
      racket
      too and the underground rail
      company, MTR are trying to impose it as well. Frankly this makes bus
      travel almost unbearable for many commuters.
      According to complaints letters in the press, and surveys organised by a
      local protest group, some commuters are reverting to car use simply
      to escape the horrors of subjection to trash TV . This reverts to a
      freedom-individuality -choice issue for the motorist lobby who in these
      circumstances are able with some justification to add this on to their
      claims that the personalised environment of the car interior with your own
      choice of silence or music-radio-what-have you overrides the negatives of
      traffic congestion, stress, inconvenience of driving/parking etc . Bear in
      mind that a major (if unspoken) objection to public transport use from many
      individuals has always been simply that it is beneath their dignity to so
      travel! Well the phenomenon of "infotainment' (another term they use) on
      board public transport , this alleged added value to the service, is
      causing
      many previously contented public transport users to feel a severe loss of
      dignity.

      OK this is Hong Kong, a kind of free market sewer where greed and
      profit-above-everything rules. But the PR moguls behind this are often
      branches of multi-national operations keen to use this place as a
      laboratory
      to experiment, given the notorious passivity of the population here. It's
      part of the globalisation process and I can see it coming (if it hasn't
      already arrived) on UK public transport too.
      there's more info about this at
      www.citizensparty.org

      I'd really like to hear if there are any parallels to this so far in the
      UK
      or elsewhere in the world. How would it be regarded there?

      Bill Telfer
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