LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 385/96-97
(These minutes have been seen
by the Administration)
Ref : CB1/PL/TP/1

LegCo Panel on Transport

Minutes of meeting held on Wednesday, 23 October 1996, at 8:30 am in Conference A of the Legislative Council Building

Members present :
    Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP (Chairman)
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
    Hon Edward S T HO, OBE, JP
    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    Hon CHAN Wing-chan
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
    Hon LEE Kai-ming
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling
Members absent :
    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
    Hon LAU Chin-shek
Public officers attending :
Item I
Transport Branch
    Mr Gordon SIU, JP
    Secretary for Transport
    Mr Paul LEUNG, JP
    Deputy Secretary for Transport
    Miss Nancy LAW
    Deputy Secretary for Transport
    Mr Isaac CHOW
    Deputy Secretary for Transport
    Mr LI Wing
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport
Item II
Transport Branch
    Mr Gordon SIU, JP
    Secretary for Transport
    Mr Paul LEUNG, JP
    Deputy Secretary for Transport
    Miss Nancy LAW
    Deputy Secretary for Transport
    Mr Isaac CHOW
    Deputy Secretary for Transport
    Mr LI Wing
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport
Highways Department
    Mr Laurence Parker
    Government Engineer/Railway Development
    Mr C K MAK
    Chief Engineer/Railways
Item VI
Transport Branch
    Mr Gordon SIU, JP
    Secretary for Transport
    Mr Paul LEUNG, JP
    Deputy Secretary for Transport
    Mr Peter John Berry
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Works
    Mr Johnny CHAN
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport
    Mr H L CHENG
    Acting Chief Engineer/NTW
    Highways Department
    Mr Alan KAM
    Assistant Director/ Major Works
    Legal Department
    Mr Ken Somerville
    Deputy Principal Crown Counsel
    Civil Litigation Unit
Item VII
Transport Branch
    Mr Gordon SIU, JP
    Secretary for Transport
    Mr Paul LEUNG, JP
    Deputy Secretary for Transport
    Mr Isaac CHOW
    Deputy Secretary for Transport
    Mr K C LAU
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport
    Transport Department
    Mrs Lily YAM, JP
    Commissioner for Transport
    Mr LI Ting-yip
    Assistant Commissioner
    Ms Carolina YIP
    Principal Transport Officer
Attendance by invitation :
Item I
Mass Transit Railway Corporation
    Mr Jack SO, OBE, JP
    Mr Russel Black
    Project Director
    Mr Clement KWOK
    Finance Director
    Mr Thomas HO
    Property Director
    Mrs Miranda LEUNG
    Corporate Relations Manager
Item VII
Electrical & Mechanical Services Department
    Mr LAW Yu-wing
    Chief Electrical & Mechanical Engineer
    Hong Kong Tramways Ltd
    Mr Frankie YICK
    General Manager
    Mr Wegan CHIANG
    Administration Manager
    Mr Allan Leech
    Operations Manager
    Mr Steven CHAN
    Engineering Manager
Clerk in attendance :
    Mrs Vivian KAM
    Chief Assistant Secretary (1)2
Staff in attendance :
    Miss Pauline NG
    Assistant Secretary General
    Mr Billy TAM
    Senior Assistant Secretary (1)4
    Mr Matthew LOO
    Senior Assistant Secretary (1) (Designate)

1. The Chairman advised that the order for discussion of the agenda items had been re-arranged as Mr Jack SO of the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTRC) would have to attend another meeting later in the morning.

I Mass Transit Railway Tseung Kwan O Extension

(LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 142/96-97(01))

2. The Chairman said that the MTRC had advised that the Corporation's debt would reach $55 billion in 2001, instead of $5.5 billion as stated in the Chinese version of paragraph 3.8.2 of the information paper on this subject circulated vide LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 142/96-97(01). At the Chairman's invitation, Mr SO briefed the Panel on the proposals for the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) Tseung Kwan O Extension. The Extension was one of the three priority projects identified in the Railway Development Strategy published in December 1994. The Extension was essential for serving Tseung Kwan O the population of which would reach 440,000 in 2011. A number of options had been identified during the feasibility study stage, and the selected network was a new line running from Po Lam, Hang Hau, Tseung Kwan O, Tiu Keng Leng, Yau Tong via the Eastern Harbour Crossing, through Quarry Bay and terminating at North Point. The Extension would have interchanges with the Kwun Tong Line at Yau Tong and Tiu Keng Leng where passengerss'; movements would be cross-platform. All trains would be running underground up to Po Lam in order to suit the town planning in Tseung Kwan O and Yau Tong and to minimize environmental impact. In addition, a new depot would be constructed on reclaimed land for light maintenance and stabling for the Extension. Construction work was planned for in the first half of 1998.

3. Regarding the capital cost of the project, Mr SO advised that this was estimated at $20.5 billion at money of the day prices before financing charges and $24 billion including capitalized interest. This was based on the international tender price levels for the Airport Railway taking into account forecast inflation rates, while the capital cost on a route kilometer basis was comparable with the historical cost of the existing MTR systems. The financial plan of the MTRC incorporating the Extension project showed that the debt would reach $55 billion in 2001. Nevertheless, operating profits were expected from its first year of operation with an internal rate of return of about 8.5% over a 40 year operating period; this would be inclusive of related property development profits. Mr SO emphasized that MTRC had both the project management capability and the financial strength to proceed with the project without the need for additional Government equity.

4. Mr SO also briefed the Panel on the proposed congestion relief works at Quarry Bay. The Quarry Bay Station which was open in 1985 was not designed as an interchange station as the platforms were narrow, deep below the ground and passengers had to move between levels for interchange purposes. MTRC had noted that passenger flow in the station at 45,000 passengers per hour had already exceeded its design capacity of 35,000 passengers. A second interchange station was essential and a proposal was therefore made for extending the Kwun Tong Line to North Point to provide a more efficient, high capacity interchange. Two new platforms would be constructed at the North Point Station to provide cross-platform access to the existing station. The estimated capital cost of the project was $2.95 billion in December 1994 prices which was equivalent to $4.2 billion at money of the day prices based on the opening date of December 2000. This project would be wholly financed through MTRC's internal resources and borrowing.

(Post-meeting note: The paper on Mass Transit Railway Tseung Kwan O Extension, and colour-printed diagrams on "Tseung Kwan O Extension" and "Quarry Bay Congestion Relief Project" which were tabled at the meeting were circulated to members vide LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 172/96-97.)

5. In response to the Chairman, Mr Gordon SIU said that the Administration was actively studying the details of these two proposals, in particular with regard to the aspects of land resumption and reclamation in Kowloon East and traffic management considerations. Mr SIU undertook to brief the Panel on the Administration's deliberation before the end of 1996.Admin

6. In response to a member, Mr SO said that the fare of the Tseung Kwan O Extension would be similar to the existing level. Mr Clement KWOK revealed that the estimated fare for traveling from Po Lam to Central would be $10.9 in 1995 prices.

7. On the contribution of property development profits towards the capital costs of the Extension, Mr SO said that an estimated $3.7 billion property development profits would cover around 15% of the capital costs. This sum was the profit share of property developments including domestic flats, shopping centres, office towers and hotels at about $300 per square metre. On the question of whether MTRC was currently earning income from hotel rental, Mr SO clarified that MTRC only generated profits from fare revenue, advertising and kiosk rental inside MTR stations. Mr Thomas HO supplemented that the capital costs involved in reclamation for the stabling depot at Yau Tong Bay had been included in the capital costs of the Tseung Kwan O Extension Project, while the cost involved in land resumption would be included under the estimate for property developments along the railway line.

8. A member considered the estimated amount of 17% for corporation costs and 11.5% for contingencies too high and suggested that the Administration should examine this closely to ensure reasonableness and avoid possible misuse of money. Mr SIU undertook to provide the Panel with an analysis of these costs. He advised that the Administration would adopt the same criteria used for the Western Corridor Railway project in assessing this Extension project. A member criticized the Administration for having delayed the planning of the project, and this had resulted in higher capital costs and traffic congestion in the Tseung Kwan O area. Mr Russel Black supplemented that the contingency for major projects would vary as definition of the projects improved and therefore would diminish over time.Admin

9. A member enquired if MTRC would consider asking for Government equity so as to level down the financing costs. In reply, Mr SO said that it was a statutory requirement for MTRC to operate in accordance with prudent commercial principles and the Corporation was required to give a satisfactory return to investment. Mr Clement KWOK added that the financial position of the Corporation was robust and it should be able to raise the necessary funds. He agreed with a member that MTRC would continue to issue bonds in the Hong Kong market as well as raise loans from overseas countries.

10. Concerning consultancy studies required for these projects, Mr Black said that MTRC had invited a local consultancy firm by competitive tendering in May 1995 for the feasibility study and preliminary design of the Tseung Kwan O Extension and Quarry Bay Congestion Relief Works and about $90 million had been expended on the project so far. He assured members that the design and management of the projects would be carried out by the Corporation's established and experienced project management team with key personnel transferred from the Airport Railway as its civil construction work was now starting to run down. The MTRC would aim to take the best staff available with an emphasis on localisation.

11. A member noted that MTRC had taken only one year to prepare the preliminary design of the Extension and had immediate plans to invite tenders for the detailed design of the project. He questioned if MTRC had included the requisite time for land resumption and assessment by the Administration. In reply, Mr SO said that only 30 marine lots were required for the construction of a stabling depot at Yau Tong Bay. MTRC had liaised with the landlords on the resumption of these lots and joint ventures with the landlords might also be considered; no difficulty was encountered at that stage. Mr Black added that the programme was very realistic and MTRC had been working closely with the Administration on the technical proposal relating to the scope of the project since May 1995. MTRC fully understood the stance of the Administration and was confident that the project could proceed as planned.

12. A member was of the view that Yau Tong Bay should be reserved for property development and enquired if the proposed stabling depot could be re-located to Tseung Kwan O. In reply, Mr Black said that this alternative would be less cost-effective than the existing option as it incurred extensive reclamation work. Furthermore, the Administration had already indicated that a comprehensive development could be carried out in Yau Tong Bay. Mr SO supplemented that development opportunities, including office towers, shopping centres and 600 domestic flats, had also been identified at the depot site at Yau Tong.

13. On a suggestion for extending the Extension from Po Lam to Tsui Lam, Mr Black said that such an extension would be obstructed by existing buildings in Tsui Lam. Mr SIU undertook to examine other means for easing transport demand between Po Lam and Tsui Lam if the railway line could not be extended. On the Park-and-Ride facilities at the Tseung Kwan O Centre, Mr SIU said that these were essential to cater for the need of residents in Sai Kung and Clear Water Bay.Admin

14. Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung affirmed his support on behalf of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong for the construction of the Tseung Kwan O Extension. He enquired if the Administration had discussed these proposals with the Chinese side of the Joint Liaison Group (JLG). In reply, Mr SIU confirmed that the Administration and MTRC had presented the proposals to JLG recently, and the Administration would provide further information to JLG once its stance on the proposal was finalized by the end of 1996.

15. On the transfer of technological experience gained from major railways projects such as the Airport Railway and the Western Corridor Railway, Mr SIU undertook to provide the Panel with a paper to address memberss'; concern on how experience in railway design and construction gained in these projects could be made use of in future railways developments in Hong Kong. He also undertook to provide the Panel with the full MTRC's proposal on the projects, together with a list summarizing the number and scopes of consultancy studies conducted, the consultancy firms commissioned and the consultancy fees involved.Admin

II Rail link between Ma On Shan and Tai Wai

(LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 142/93-97(02))

16. At the Chairman's invitation, Mr Laurence Parker briefed the Panel on proposals for the rail link from Ma On Shan to Tai Wai and the Kowloon Canton Railway (KCR) Extension from Hung Hom to Tsim Sha Tsui. This project was also one of the three priority projects recommended in the Railway Development Strategy for implementation by 2001. The two proposed railway schemes would complement each other in providing direct access for passengers from North East New Territories to urban Kowloon and in relieving congestion at the Kowloon Tong interchange station and along the Nathan Road Corridor. The Administration had commissioned a consultancy study to establish the feasibility of the projects in November 1995 and the recommendations would be available in February 1997; consultation would then take place between parties concerned. Mr SIU undertook to report to the Panel on the progress in early 1997.Admin

17. Some members pointed out that the KCR terminal had only been re-located from Tsim Sha Tsui to Hung Hom in the 1970s, and questioned the rationale for putting the terminal back to its original location. In response, Mr Parker said that the proposal was essential in providing an additional interchange in the existing railway configuration in view of the upward revision of Hong Kong's population forecast. The estimated capacity of up to 40,000 passengers per hour per direction would tie in with the population forecast. Furthermore, the Administration had expanded the scope of the feasibility study to include a new railway from North East New Territories to South West Kowloon after 2011 in the light of the population forecast. This was as yet a preliminary proposal and the Panel would be informed of details following completion of the study. Mr C K MAK supplemented that the Extension which would start from the KCR Kowloon Station in Hung Hom would be in the form of an underground alignment along the East Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront; it would end in an underground station either under the Middle Road or Salisbury Road to the south of the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station. In addition to diverting passengers from the Kowloon Tong interchange, this option would also provide a direct access for passengers from North East New Territories to the business centre in Tsim Sha Tsui. In sum, the project would be essential for coping with the increased transport demand. Mr MAK also highlighted the fact that the move of the KCR terminal in the 1970s was for the purpose of releasing land along the rail line for property developments in East Tsim Sha Tsui.

18. Some members expressed worries that some passengers might prefer other transport facilitates such as ferries and the location of an interchange in Tsim Sha Tsui might create congestion problem. In response, Mr SIU assured members that the Administration would duly address their concerns on the linkage of the interchange to other transport facilitates, and its impact on road traffic in the vicinity in the feasibility study.

19. A member recalled a proposal having been made in the Second Comprehensive Transport Study to extend the KCR from Hung Hom to Wan Chai. He sought the Administration's views on this alternative. In response, Mr Parker said that the Administration had studied a large number of options in the Railway Development Study before coming up with the decision on the existing proposal. To facilitate memberss'; understanding, he undertook to provide before completion of the feasibility study in February 1997, figures on the estimated number of passengers and interchange flow at Tsim Sha Tsui as at the end of 1996.Admin

20. Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin, on behalf of the Democratic Party, expressed support for the Administration's proposal to extend the KCR Extension to the West Kowloon Reclamation to link up with the Western Corridor Railway. On the details of this proposal, Mr Parker said that this was only a preliminary proposal for the long term railway development and as such had not been included in the scope of the feasibility study for the KCR Extension project. However, the Administration had maintained close liaison with the consultants on reclamation work in Kowloon and land would be reserved for the rail alignment for the proposed link up.

21. Members questioned if the Ma On Shan to Tai Wai rail link could be completed on time in 2001 as recommended in the Railway Development Strategy following the expansion of the scope of the feasibility study. Mr SIU acknowledged that he had already foreseen some technical difficulties for timely completion of the project. In the event of possible delay, the Administration would consider implementing the project by phases.

22. In responding to members on the design of railway systems in Hong Kong, Mr SIU said that the Administration would aim at integrating the services of different railways and keeping the number of interchanges to the minimum to maximize convenience to passengers. He also emphasized the importance of the project in enhancing transport services to North New Territories. On the financial arrangements, Mr SIU undertook to provide the Panel with a breakdown of the construction costs of the two projects estimated to cost $10 billion in 1994 prices. He also agreed to consider a member's view for keeping the fare at a reasonably low level.Admin

23. A member expressed concern about the Administration's capability in monitoring the three priority projects recommended in the Railway Development Strategy as construction would commence at about the same time. In reply, Mr SIU advised that the Administration would reinforce staffing in the Transport Branch through the establishment of a Railway Division and this should provide sufficient staffing resources for supervising works involved. On the mode of implementation of the project, Mr SIU advised that the Administration was considering whether the project should be operated by public or private sector participation. This would be addressed in the feasibility study and members would be duly consulted. Hon CHEUNG Hon chung expressed his support for the project to operated by the Hong Kong Government without private sector participation.

24. The Chairman that this item would be discussed by the Panel again in early 1997. Meanwhile, members who wished to obtain details of the Railway Development Strategy were requested to contact the Panel Clerk.

III Confirmation of minutes of previous meeting

(LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 145/96-97)

25. The minutes of the meeting held on 3 October 1996 were confirmed.

26. The Chairman also reported on the progress of the Working Group on Overseas Study Tour. Nine members had joined the Working Group which held its first meeting on 16 October 1996. Five cities, including Paris, Hamburg/Berlin, New York, Toronto and Tokyo/Seoul had been identified and the cost for each participating member was about $60,000; there might be a need for participating members to shoulder some of the expenses. A verbal report had been made at the House Committee meeting on 18 October 1996 and Working Group members would hold another meeting in the afternoon of 23 October 1996 to discuss further details.

IV Date and items for discussion at next meeting

27. Members agreed that the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman would decide on the agenda for the next meeting in consultation with the Administration. Mr SIU offered to draw up a forecast on items for discussion in the next six months.Admin

V. Information paper issued since last meeting

(LegCo Papers No. CB(1) 14 & 51/96-97(01))

28. Members noted that LegCo Papers No. CB(1) 14 and 51/96-97(01) on the subject of PWSC (96-97) 36 321 CL Reclamation and servicing of Tuen Mun Area 38 for special industries had been circulated for memberss'; reference.

VI Tuen Mun Road widening work mediation case

(LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 142/96-97(04))

29. As the information paper on the Tuen Mun Road widening work mediation case had been circulated to members vide LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 142/96-97(04) before the meeting, the Chairman advised that it was unnecessary for the Administration to brief members on the subject and invited memberss'; comments on the case.

30. A member said that the Tuen Mun Road widening work was aimed at relieving traffic congestion before the opening of Route 3 in 1998. As the work had been suspended, he considered that the Administration should explore other options such as constructing an additional slow lane to resolve the congestion problem in Tuen Mun Road. In response, Mr SIU said that about 86% of the road widening work had been completed and this had brought about significant improvements for traffic along Tuen Mun Road. The problem confronting the Administration was primarily technical difficulties relating to the remainder of the work at the Tai Lam Section, and he reiterated that the Administration would aim at completing the works within the shortest possible time. While he reckoned that the additional lane suggested by the member would not be a short-term option, he undertook to provide the Panel with a preliminary assessment on the proposed additional lane.Admin

31. On the terms of the contract for the road widening work, Mr Alan KAM advised that it was a Design and Build (D & B) contract and the exact approach to be adopted by the contractor in carrying out the works had not been stipulated. Mr Peter John Berry supplemented that this form of contract, which allowed the contractor to decide on the design methodology and approach to the work with flexibility, was widely used in international civil engineering works. The Administration had been working closely with the contractor but the rockfall incident was an accident which was technically unforseeable. As to whether the Administration had requested the contractor to conduct a comprehensive risk assessment before commencement of the works, Mr KAM said that assessment of risks associated with the works was required to be submitted by the contractor, but the assessment was not as comprehensive as to include the predicated chance and varying sizes of rockfall.

32. On the process involved in the arbitration, Mr Ken Somerville advised that the main issue in this case was physical impossibility. The contractor did not have a free hand in designing the works as he was required to do so subject to the Employerss'; Requirements, which were incorporated in the contract and imposed extensive land closure restrictions on the method of work to be adopted. He explained that following the rockfall incident in August 1995, the contractor called in an international expert in rock engineering to inspect all relevant slopes and conduct an intensive review of the method of work. The conclusion was that it was legally and physically impossible to proceed with the remaining works at Tai Lam in accordance with the terms of the contract. The contractor subsequently instituted mediation proceedings against the Administration in February 1996. The Administration also commissioned its own consultants for the necessary geotechnical expert advice for the mediation. The mediator accepted the evidence of the contractor's experts and decided that it was impossible for the contractor to complete the works in strict accordance with the contract, particularly with regard to the two aspects of lane closure and safety of operation. At memberss'; request for a copy or summary of the Mediator's Decision, Mr Somerville advised that he thought this could be arranged.Admin

(Post meeting note: As the matter was still sub judice pending a Coroner's Inquest, the contractor subsequently declined to consent to disclosure of the decision on its contents at this time.)

33. Members expressed worries over the impact which the arbitration result would have on other contracts and the possibilities for other contractors to use this case as a precedence to relieve their obligations in completing their works. In response, Mr Berry said the Administration was reviewing the policy and terms of contracts in general with particular reference to this case. A decision would likely be made in early 1997.

34. Owing to time constraints, the Panel agreed to allocate another time slot to follow-up on this mediation case. In the meantime, the Administration was requested to provide the following information:Admin
  1. additional costs incurred in completing the works at Sam Shing Hui, So Kwun Wat, and the estimated cost of completing the remaining work at Tai Lam;
  2. whether the contractor could claim compensation from the Hong Kong Government; and
  3. the action taken by the Administration on the remaining works since suspension of the construction works.

VII Consultantss'; recommendations on tram safety

(LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 142/96-97(05))

35. At the Chairman's invitation, Mr Frankie YICK briefed the Panel on the consultantss'; recommendations on tram safety circulated vide LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 142/96-97(05). On the safety standard of trams, Mr YICK said that the consultants had drawn up recommendations for improving the electrical equipment of the tram fleet, in particular the provision of a deadman's handle or similar driver's vigilance device. As regards the recruitment, selection and training of motormen and inspectors, the consultants had recommended that the Hong Kong Tramways Ltd (HKT) should conduct competency and aptitude tests for new recruits as was the case with MTRC. Furthermore, the staff training programme should be re-structured with emphasis on key competencies and continuous assessment. In addition to the above, the company had also suggested launching a special high profile "Safety Programme" to enhance staff's awareness of the importance of safety and to educate them as well as the public on safety practices. Mr YICK affirmed that HKT had accepted the consultantss'; recommendations and had initiated discussions with the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) on the implementation. The improvement works would cost $14.29 million and would be completed in two years. Apart from measures recommended by the consultants, HKT had already completed remedial works such as relocation of indicator lights to improve safety for the existing system.

36. A member noted that motormen would have to be kept standing and have lunch while on duty. He considered this arrangement unacceptable. In reply, Mr YICK said that collapsible driverss'; chairs had been installed in trams. As regards luncheon arrangements, he explained that tram operation was different from other transport facilities as the trams would accumulate on rails and traditionally motormen were not paid for during lunch. Nevertheless, HKT was going to invest $1 million to set up a computer system for drawing up rosters for motormen and optimizing resources and the situation was expected to improve early next year. Mr YICK further affirmed that motormen were paid for during lunch hours.

37. The Chairman enquired about the present position regarding the Administration's review of the Tramway Ordinance. Mr K C LAU replied that the review was in hand and the priority area being looked at was the strengthening of safety regulations for tram cars. On a member's suggestion for the Administration to consider issuing licences to individual trams and motormen to ensure their safety standards, Mr K C LAU said that under the existing legislation, EMSD was responsible for the regular monitoring of the mechanical and electrical structures and functions of all trams. Mr LAW Yu-wing supplemented that two additional staff in EMSD would be deployed as from 1997/98 specifically for the examination of trams. He assured members that all trams would be examined annually by EMSD to ensure their safe operation and this would achieve the same purpose as licensing the tram cars. Concerning driving licences for motormen, Mrs Lily YAM advised that according to international practice, tram companies were responsible for training and examining their own motormen and no tram driving licences were issued; neither would the Transport Department have the expertise for conducting such examinations. On a related suggestion for specifying a pre-requisite for motormen to possess valid driving licences, Mrs YAM said that HKT had just accepted the consultantss'; recommendations for improving staff training and recruitment, and it would be premature to consider the member's suggestion at that stage since this might have a negative impact on recruitment of motormen by HKT. The member re-iterated his suggestion for issuing licences and urged the Administration to expedite action in this respect.

38. A member observed that no estimated expenditure had been made for the safety programme in 1998 and 1999. In response, Mr YICK explained that while such expenditure on serving motormen and inspectors had been shown for the years 1996 and 1997, expenditure for training up new recruits were included under estimates for "Training improvement for additional staff" for the years 1998 and 1999. On the financial impact on HKT in view of the expenditure on improvement works, Mr YICK advised that this would only create very minor pressure financially.

VIII Any other business

Briefing by the Administration on the Tsing Ma Control Area Bill and the Discovery Bay Tunnel Link Bill

(LegCo Briefs on the two Bills)

39. As the meeting had overrun by over one hour, members agreed that it was unnecessary for the Administration to brief members on the two Bills. Members considered that Bills Committees should be formed to conduct more detailed scrutiny of the two Bills.

(Post-meeting note: At the request of the Administration, a briefing on the Tsing Ma Control Area Bill would be conducted at the meeting on 8 November 1996.)

40. The meeting ended at 12:10 p.m.
Legislative Council Secretariat
25 November 1996

Last Updated on 22 August 1998