Cable car wait cut to three hours as crowd control improves
The MTR Corporation said crowd management at the Ngong Ping 360 cable car had improved yesterday, the fifth day of the service's trial run.
About 9,500 passengers rode the Lantau cable car yesterday, with service extended to 7pm.
Holidaymakers waited for up to three hours in the morning in a queue that stretched towards the Tung Chung MTR station. But many seemed prepared for the long wait, bringing food and entertainment, such as video game consoles.
Ngong Ping 360 managing director Morris Cheung Siu-wa said crowd management had improved yesterday as lessons had been learned from Tuesday, when people had to wait for up to four hours.
Yesterday's service began at 9.15am, 45 minutes earlier than scheduled. 'I would like to thank our staff and their family members for co-operating,' Mr Cheung said.
Two glitches led to the system being briefly suspended twice yesterday. In the first incident, a sensor found one of the cabin doors had not closed fully. The service resumed 30 seconds later after a brief check.
At about noon, the system stopped for three minutes when a signal indicated that the rope grip attaching a gondola to its overhead cable did not release totally as the gondola entered the station. It was found to be a false alarm.
An MTR spokesman said service suspensions during the test runs were caused by sensors that were essential to ensure safety. He said the system had to handle more than 20,000 signals from 109 gondolas.
Mr Cheung reiterated that the hiccups were normal and that he expected stops of three to 10 minutes per day during normal operations.
He added that public announcements would be made at MTR stations to tell visitors if the expected waiting time exceeded two hours.
Passenger Chan Chi-kin said the long wait and lack of toilet facilities marred his ride, which started with the three-hour wait at Tung Chung. 'I thought 11/2 hours was the maximum I had to wait,' he said.
But other passengers said the beautiful scenery was worth the wait. 'I think it's great. The ride is calmer than the one at Ocean Park,' said Chen Kit.
The official date for reopening is10am on Monday, and the sale of tickets will resume tomorrow.
The cable car service was halted on June 11 after an empty gondola fell during testing of the braking system. There is no test run today.