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From a little fish village to an international financial centre, Hong Kong has experienced a lot of changes. We would like to invite you to look back to the history of Hong Kong, the story of our home.
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《The History of Hong Kong III》 Evolution of Modes of Transport


《The History of Hong Kong III》 Evolution of Modes of Transport

Urban development leads to transport innovation, and transport improvement in turn accelerates urban expansion. There is a strong tie between a city and its transport. In just more than a century, Hong Kong has quickly transformed itself from a small fishing village to an international city. Transport has also been evolving continuously to cope with the changing society, and it plays an important role in urban development.

In the earlier years, people in Hong Kong didn’t have to travel as much, and most of them went from one place to another on foot. They also used wooden carts, horses, carriages, and even bullock carts and wheelbarrows for transport. After sedan chairs and rickshaws had been introduced into Hong Kong, they quickly became the mainstream of transport, and were under Government supervision.

As sedan chairs were convenient and flexible, they soon became the mainstream of transport. Sedan chair was also considered a symbol of prestige for government officials, rich people, foreigners and doctors. In addition, sedan chair, being the mainstream of transport, played an important role in the development of the Mid-Levels and the Peak. After the introduction of rickshaws, they almost took over sedan chairs. Nevertheless, sedan chairs were still an indispensable means of transport in the Mid-Levels and the Peak until the 1950’s.

With the rapid development of the city and the continuous growth of population, non-motorized transport could no longer meet the needs of the society. In 1882, the Government promulgated the Tramway Ordinance and announced the establishment of tram service between Kennedy Town and Shau Kei Wan, and a separate tramway to the Peak.

The construction of the Peak Tramway proceeded first in 1885, so as to meet the demand of the foreigners in Mid-Levels and the Peak, and the construction was completed in 1888. Subsequently, upon completion of reclamation works, the roads were widened, and all stages of works regarding the tram service between Kennedy Town and Shau Kei Wan were completed by 1904.

The tram provided convenient and prompt service, and it soon became the most popular transport. It also provided convenience for people who had to go to work in another district, which in turn directly accelerated the flow of people, commodity trading, and the pace of urban development.

After the trams had begun to operate in Hong Kong Island, there were plans for their expansion to Kowloon side. However, before those plans could be implemented, buses were put into service. Kowloon and the New Territories covered a larger area and the way that the regions were divided was more complicated, and buses, without tracks, were more flexible and practical. Hence, rapid development of bus service. Different bus companies were set up to provide people with different routes in Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories. Later, the Government decided to regularize bus service. In 1933, the bus franchise in Hong Kong was obtained by the China Motor Bus Company Limited, and the bus franchise in Kowloon and the New Territories was obtained by the Kowloon Motor Bus Company (1933) Limited.

During the Japanese occupation period, most of the transports were confiscated by the Japanese Army or being combined for military use. Transports in Hong Kong were lost suddenly and all transport systems were paralyzed. At that time, sedan chairs and rickshaws could fulfill their functions again and became important transports for the people in Hong Kong.
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