Only so much can be done to improve elevated MTR station

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 June, 2016, 3:53pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 June, 2016, 3:53pm

We would like to respond to the comments made by Wilkie Wong regarding the operations of Kwun Tong station (“MTR should fix stations with design flaws”, June 15).

The MTR Corporation always strives to provide a safe and quality service for its passengers. As part of our ongoing improvement programme, refurbishments have been carried out at different stations to make the travel experience more convenient and comfortable.

Kwun Tong Line was the first MTR line which started services in 1979, and Kwun Tong station was one of the first nine stations on this line. The section from Kwun Tong to Kowloon Bay stations is largely on a viaduct.

Since 1979, the population of Hong Kong has increased by more than 48 per cent, and we have seen substantial growth in residential and commercial developments in east Kowloon, particularly in recent years. The corporation has endeavoured to improve railway capacity and station facilities to cope with increasing demand, which may not have been fully anticipated when the Kwun Tong Line was being built 40 years ago.

Comprehensive station refurbishments were undertaken at Kwun Tong station from 2014 to 2015. Such work inevitably faced certain constraints, as the station is elevated and located above busy Kwun Tong Road.

Air conditioning is not installed as the platforms are not fully enclosed. Fans were installed and then replaced by conducting fans to further increase air circulation and reduce the temperature. But the reality is that the temperature at a non-enclosed station will unavoidably be affected by the outside temperature.

To enhance passenger access, three entry gates have been added near busy Exit A.

Other improvements such as rearranging the escalator direction have been implemented to ease crowding during morning/evening peak hours. Additional station staff have been deployed to facilitate smooth passenger flow and optimise the efficiency of station operations.

Although the station remains busy, the implementation of these measures has helped to ensure that operations are generally smooth.

However, the surrounding buildings and busy roads are genuine and significant constraints that prevent us from introducing major structural changes.

I would like to assure your readers that providing a caring service is at the heart of the MTR’s mission and we will continue to listen to and respond to passengers’ opinions and implement improvement measures whenever possible.

Kendrew Wong, media relations manager, MTR Corporation