MTR defends safety after mishap

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 January, 2008, 12:00am

The MTR Light Rail system was not to blame for an accident in which a blind man fell onto the tracks on Sunday, the MTR Corporation said yesterday.

Light Rail traffic manager Sun Cheuk-yuen said safety provisions met international standards and an ongoing upgrade would further improve safety.

Joe Kan Tak-yui, 28, fell down between two compartments at Tin Yiu station in Tin Shui Wai while trying to board and was taken to hospital. He said it was not the first time he had fallen onto the tracks and such accidents would not happen if guide paths were provided.

Mr Sun said Mr Kan's case was the only such accident since the service opened in 1988 and was not related to the system.

He said a HK$10 million improvement programme being implemented would see more facilities installed for the disabled.

For example, tactile guide paths had been installed on 39 out of 158 platforms so far. Soft plastic would be installed between the tracks and the platform at 37 stations where the gap was too big.

The improvement programme would be finished in 2010.

But the Hong Kong Blind Union said such accidents might recur if improvement works were not done sooner.

Director Raco Cheng Tak-wah said he was disappointed that the MTR would not speed up the upgrade.

While acknowledging that some of the facilities under the improvement scheme had been suggested by the group, he said the request for guide paths at all stations had been rejected.

Mr Cheng said the union would try to arrange a meeting with the authorities and the MTR on these issues.

An MTR spokesman said the improvements were being made after consultation with various concern groups. The company also met the groups twice a year to listen to their suggestions.