The majority of district council transport committees are now stuck in limbo without a chairperson, a Transit Jam investigation has found, with only five of 18 district councils having a functioning Traffic & Transport Committee and only four having a chairperson in place.
More than 200 District Councillors have resigned in the last few weeks, with Chief Executive Carrie Lam saying that no by-elections would be held, and that the bodies are “no longer a fully functional District Council as originally conceived.”
Following the mass resignations, of 18 district Traffic and Transport Committees (TTCs), only three (Islands, Sai Kung and Tuen Mun) have both a chairman and a vice-chairman remaining. Yuen Long has a chair but no vice chair, and Sha Tin has a vice chair but no chair.
13 districts are thus unable to run their TTC meetings, with no plan released for breaking the logjam.
And across the city, transport committees (either TTCs or other committees handling transport matters) have shrunk almost 60% from a citywide force of 412 to just 176 councillors remaining. Central & Western District’s TTC, for example, has shrunk from 15 to three, with no chair or vice chair. Wong Tai Sin’s TTC has shrunk from 28 to three, also with no chair or vice chair.
While Carrie Lam said the District Council is purely an “advisory body”, many government departments rely on District Council approval for projects – for example, the TTC must give written approval for roadworks, according to established Transport Department procedure.
Transport Department did not respond to questions on whether the lack of functioning TTCs would hold up works or projects, or whether the government had a backup plan for district transport planning.
Meanwhile, the police in each district are scheduled to meet the TTC chair every few months for a Traffic Accident Reduction Coordination Committee (TARCC). Even before the mass resignations, relationships have become strained, with at least one new TTC chair refusing to talk to police about road safety last year.
But police in Central & Western District say they hope the resignations won’t impact road safety work.
“We will continue the TARCC meetings and, if possible, will invite other existing serving DC members to join in,” a police source told Transit Jam.
The source said the lack of district council attendance wouldn’t make much difference. “The TARCC is mainly for interdepartmental coordination,” he revealed.