Passengers hit out at 'invasive' TV

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 July, 2005, 12:00am

The Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation yesterday admitted it had received complaints about new television news and advertising broadcasts in its carriages, with one regular passenger describing them as 'invasive and irritating'.

The corporation would not disclose how many complaints it had received, except to say the number was 'normal' and that it had taken steps to minimise any nuisance.

Robert Halili, who travels on East Rail every day, said the noise from the news, produced by Cable TV subsidiary Hong Kong Cable News Express, was 'way too loud'.

'I was shocked by it and thought, 'Geez, it's an emergency'.'

Mr Halili said that at times when the train was quiet, the sound seemed greater - 'and the commercials were double the sound of the newscasts'.

He said his private space had been invaded and he did not see many people watching the broadcasts, which began on July 8.

The complaints mirror those among Kowloon Motor Bus passengers annoyed by similar Roadshow broadcasts.

KCRC public affairs manager Mabel Wan Mei-po said the number of complaints was not unusual.

'Every time we introduce new services, we get calls from our passengers,' she said.

Ms Wan said there was a sensor in each television that should adjust the volume according to the surrounding noise.

'Maybe it's still new and not yet that good at adjusting to the best volume.'

For those wanting to escape the noise, the KCRC has allocated two 'quiet cars' - where the volume is turned down - in each East Rail train, and one on each West Rail and Ma On Shan line train.

The two East Rail carriages are directly in front of and behind the first-class carriage, while signs on the platforms and in other cars give directions to the West Rail and Ma On Shan line carriages.

Daily West Rail traveller Chan Yuk-kit found a quiet car for the first time yesterday and said it was much more comfortable.

'My child isn't being woken up by the sudden noise,' she said, describing the broadcasts as 'very loud' and 'very harsh to the ears'.

But Lun Pui-yuk, who was reading a book in a non-quiet compartment yesterday, said she did not find the television noisy.