TAIPEI - Protesters moved a mock cannon onto the streets of a Kaohsiung community as a sign of defiance against tour buses from mainland China congesting roads, according to Go Hamasen Alliance, a local association.
The Siziwan community is located in Gushan District of Kaohsiung and is famous for its beautiful sunsets. The former British Consulate at Takow is another popular tourist attraction.
More than 200 tour buses, mostly with tourists from mainland China, overwhelm the roads of Siziwan every day, causing traffic congestion, air pollution, litter, noise, illegal parking and disturbance in the neighborhood, said a resident.
Nearby National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU) used to allow tour buses to park in its parking lot in order to lessen the burden tour buses place on the neighborhood. However, NSYSU announced on April 27 that only 35 buses per day would be allowed to park there in the future.
NSYSU Vice President Wu Ji-hwa said yesterday that roads on the campus have been damaged as too many buses go in and out every day. Campus traffic is constantly at a standstill, especially during afternoons when tourists, students, professors and school workers all head home.
School bosses decided to limit the number of buses parking on campus to 35, and also raised the parking fee from NT$100 (S$4.30) to NT$150 per bus.
Protesters in the Streets
With NSYSU limiting the number of buses, roads in Siziwan today were congested worse than usual. Protesters went onto the streets later in the day with a historic cannon, meant to symbolize their defiance and wish to protect the neighborhood against the growing numbers of buses crowding the roads, according to the Go Hamasen Alliance.
Protesters claimed to have reported the situation to the Transportation Bureau of Kaohsiung City Government several times, yet the bureau has yet to act to stop tour buses congesting the area.
Transit Terminal under Discussion: Bureau
Chen Jing-fu, director of the Transportation Bureau, said that the city government has been discussing possible short-term and long-term solutions.
For the short term, Chen said that the bureau will continue to negotiate with NSYSU to allow more buses to park on the campus before they build a large transit terminal. He said that the bureau will step up inspections of illegal parking of tour buses.
The city government is planning to build a large transit terminal outside Siziwan, where tour buses are slated to be able to park. Tourists will then enter Siziwan or other tourist spots by shuttle bus or by sea, said Chen.