The latest meeting of Tuen Mun District Council’s traffic and transport committee discussed a request by four district councils to make riding a Harrow International School bus mandatory for every enrolled child.
The various district councils are asking the government to stipulate the point in its next service agreement with the school, reported South China Morning Post.
The Hong Kong branch of the British boarding school has already started the new students on the bus service from September 2017. Only parents of new pupils who are Year 6 or younger and living in areas lacking access to the service may apply for a car permit.
According to the school’s website, about 600 students currently use the bus service and they account for about half of Harrow’s enrolment.
The move comes after Tuen Mun residents complained about daily traffic congestion at peak hours, as parents do drop-offs and pick-ups to and from the school. Harrow International opened in 2012.
District councillor Beatrice Chu Shun-nga said traffic had not improved appreciably with only new pupils taking the school bus. She cited figures from a study district councils conducted at a roundabout near the school.
“On non-school days there were about 103 to 106 buses passing the roundabout between 6.30am and 8.30am. But the figure dropped to some 90 buses on school days before the riding requirement was introduced,” she said.
The public transport near the school areas is still being affected and residents inconvenienced, she added.
There’s a newly completed residential development The Bloomsway where residents will be moving in by March, which will result in substantial increase in traffic flow.
This is why the district council is urging the Education Bureau ask all Harrow pupils to use its bus service when signing its next service agreement with the school in 2020.
They also called on the Transport Department to emulate various international schools in Southern district to extend the mandatory school bus scheme from new pupils to all who are enrolled.