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Express Rail Link Is Unnecessary in Hong Kong

Autor:   •  September 22, 2011  •  Case Study  •  973 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,229 Views

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Express Rail Link is Unnecessary in Hong Kong

In January 2010, the Executive Council, a core policy-making organ in the executive branch of the government of Hong Kong, endorsed the funding arrangement of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (hereinafter, XRL) and funding approval was obtained from Legislative Council. The construction work commenced in 2010 and will be completed by 2015. High-speed rail is widely described as a railway system which could operate as fast as 200 kilometer per hour or above. The plan for XRL was put forward in 2008, resulting in a wide dispute in the Hong Kong society. Concerning the enormous expenditure of the construction which reaches 65.2 billion Hong Kong Dollars (GovHK, 2005), this article argues that XRL is not necessary in Hong Kongļ¼Œbecause the most likely benefit within the first decade are possibly to come from finite ticket incomes and benefits in the further future are overestimated.

Within a decade, the most benefit received from its operation is tickets sales; however income from ticket sales would not be a convincingly large amount. The districts where the line covers are in less developed villages in New Territories, XRL may not acquire as many profits from auxiliary facilities by the ticket income. For instance, few companies are willing to construct a shopping mall in such undeveloped place because they can invest in more developed places. Passengers probably have little interest in taking the XRL compared with the train. The terminal of XRL in Guangzhou is a village called ShiBi. It is 11 stations away from GongYuanQian which is the downtown in Guangzhou. Taking XRL requires passengers take the underground and transfer twice to downtown. In contrast, there are only two stations in between if passengers arrive at the Guangzhou Railway Station by train. Although XRL saves 40 minutes in the journey, the time cost in underground and transferring trains makes the total journey time of both transportation indistinctive. Furthermore, Zhang (1998) points out that transferring train in a trip will increase the cost of transportation and sacrifice benefit of passengers, using mathematic model. Probably, passengers are not willing to take the XRL because they need to transfer once more. In a decade ShiBi is unlikely turn to a highly developed downtown. Since the tourists are mainly from central Guangzhou, they may have less interest in taking XRL as well. Hence, XRL cannot acquire many ticket incomes from its operation.

The benefits that XRL would bring to the economy in Hong Kong in decades have been overestimated. The government asserts that XRL would give the economy of Hong Kong a boost and lead to development in various industries. Tourism may get a high benefit at least, but an experience in Spain indicates that high speed rail helps little in tourism development. AVE is the first high speed railway in Spain, which


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