bus terminus a historic part of Hong Kong's urban landscape
5 August 2009
South China Morning Post
The Antiquities and Monuments office
has denied that the Tsim Sha Tsui Star ferry pier bus terminus has any
It has argued that the terminus
is neither graded nor on the list of historic buildings and that it
has gone through extensive alterations, in heritage terms it is of little
value. I find these attitudes, particularly that of the Antiquities
and Monuments Office disappointing. The first argument has a major flaw
in its logic which is also reflected in the office's recent action.
Shouldn't buildings be assessed
before they are considered historic? And the second argument displays
an ignorance of local history. Transport operations at the terminus
have gone through repeated changes over the past 120 years as urban
life has been transformed.
The area where the terminus now
stands is the starting point of the development of Kowloon and the New
Traditional Chinese travelling distances
are measured from the terminus. The terminus developed in tandem with
the urban areas. With the growing popularity of motorised transport,
the interchange was transformed in 1921 from a rickshaw to a bus terminus.
After 1949, Hong Kong's population grew drastically as refugees fled
from the mainland. The single-decker bus could no longer cope with public
demand and, therefore, the terminus was altered again to take double-decker
The history of the terminus, like
that of Hong Kong, is a record of changes. Its alteration reflects the
past that has formed the current city's landscape and tells us where
we came from. Despite all the alterations that have taken place, the
physical and functional integrity of the terminus and ferry pier as
a land-sea interchange has survived intact.
According to the Transport Department,
45,000 passengers are using the Star Ferry Pier at Tsim Sha Tsui every
day and many of them go in transit via the terminus. It is a precious
part of Hong Kong's historic urban life. The antiquities office should
undertake thorough research and give it the grading it deserves, before
it is destroyed.
Edmond Chui, member, Our Bus Terminal