Sep 13, 2012|
HK Magazine: What is Ninety-nine Bus?
Kamric To: Ninety-nine Bus is a service that will allow dog owners to be able to take their pets to parks and other recreational areas around the city. It will provide transportation for those who are not car owners, or not able to take taxis on a regular basis, and allow them to visit recreational spaces with their dogs.
HK: How did you first come up with the idea of a providing public transport for dogs?
KT: As a dog owner myself, I found that a problem that we often face is that generally, dogs are not allowed on public transportation [apart from guide dogs]. Also, bringing pets on public transport creates various problems, such as hygiene issues or causing a disturbance to passengers who are not keen on animals. Ninety-nine Bus provides public transportation for dogs and their owners without affecting others.
HK: What is the current state of the campaign?
KT: The trial run is on October 7 and goes from Sha Tin to Central Pier. Several stops will be made during the trip, including Penfold Park, which is one of the few recreational areas in Hong Kong open to dogs. We are still in talks with CityBus [from whom the vehicles are hired] about three proposed routes that we hope to introduce in the future, which will involve stops in Tai Po, Sai Kung and Stanley.
HK: What do you hope to achieve through this campaign?
KT: We hope to one day develop Ninety-nine Bus into an independent bus line, which will be run regularly on weekends and during public holidays, taking dogs from the city center to the outskirts of Hong Kong and vice versa.
HK: What has been the most difficult part during the process?
Chow Kin Wa: To be honest, the process hasn’t been that difficult, and we haven’t encountered a huge amount of problems. However, as we both have full-time jobs, we have only been able to work on Ninety-nine Bus in our free time, which is the reason why the campaign has taken rather a long time to come into being.
HK: What has been the response to your campaign?
KT: We have had a lot of organizations reach out to us hoping to provide sponsorship; these are mostly businesses in the pet industry, such as pet shops and accessory suppliers. Additionally, there have also been other requests on possible collaborations with us. We have also received countless emails of support from dog owners.
HK: What do you think needs to change in Hong Kong in order to better accommodate pets and their owners?
KT: We think the government needs to relax its rules on pets in public places. People are often against dogs’ presence in parks because they are worried about waste being left behind, but in a way, strict rules on dogs, combined with lack of awareness of their needs, can actually stop dog owners from making educated decisions about picking up after their dogs. Also, there could be laws implemented which could help dog owners as well as the public, such as letting dogs go into parks after 11pm. There would be significantly less people in the park, meaning the dogs wouldn’t cause as much disturbance to the public, while dogs and their owners are also being given a chance to enjoy the recreational areas.
Ninety-nine Bus’s first trial run is on October 7. To learn more about it, visit www.facebook.com/99bushk.