Should the MTR merge with the KCR?
Annie Tai, 16
Shung Tak Catholic English College
Yes. Merging the MTR and the KCR is beneficial to Hong Kong's transportation, the government and the citizens. It is good news for all of us, except perhaps, the unsophisticated KCR managers who wished to overthrow their chairman last month.
The KCR has too many problems. It needs the MTR to upgrade its management, overhaul the unsafe carriages, rectify the lack of screen doors and improve the running of delayed trains.
I don't think the government is selling the KCR too cheaply. The $42 billion that the MTR pays in rent to the KCR for 50 years is 10 times the KCR's profit for the whole of 2004!
The MTR also has substantial experience in developing property so it won't let the KCR's land resources go wasted.
Also, new lines such as the Sha Tin to Central route will enhance citizens' convenience, as they will eliminate time spent switching between trains.
In addition, after the merger, 2.8 million passengers will enjoy a fare cut of 31 per cent.
Some people may worry about staff cuts but the MTR has already guaranteed that frontline service will not be affected, as new positions will be generated.
I think the merger will help unite the Hong Kong railway service, taking it to an internationally higher standard. It will provide passengers safe and efficient rides for less money.
Kevin Kung, 15
Ying Wa College
No, I don't think this plan will benefit Hong Kong citizens.
The MTR Corporation will become an 'independent kingdom' for 50 years, as it can monopolise the
whole market with the KCR not being its competitor
any more. How can we ask the company for better services?
The company promised that the KCR workers on the frontline will not be cut.
But, I can see that the quality of service on the KCR will not improve because the MTR is going to employ exactly the same team of inadequate workers after the merger.
The government persuades people to support the
rail merger by saying there will be a drop in travelling costs.
The MTR announced that long journey passengers will have bigger discounts, while shorter journeys will only have a 20 cents discount, if travellers use an Octopus Card to pay for the ride. Is that fair to passengers?
In 2005, the MTR had a profit of $84 billion and over $60 billion of that came from selling properties.
The MTR, having taken all the profits they can through the sale of properties, might raise passenger