Passengers balk at new MTR weight limit

Commuters groan and grumble as MTR's restrictions aimed at cross-border traders' heavy baggage takes effect at stations

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 October, 2012, 3:28am

Mainland visitors and Hongkongers alike complained about inconvenience as the MTR Corp began enforcing its new baggage weight limit, yesterday, to crack down on parallel traders.

Railway workers set up scales outside four busy stations near the border, and passengers going through the wide gates needed to have their bags weighed. Luggage over 32kg was turned back.

But travellers at Sheung Shui station said they were unhappy about the inconvenience and having to wait in the queue while MTR employees weighed bags one by one.

"Hongkongers are killing their own city," a man from Shenzhen complained.

He said he came to Hong Kong every week, spending HK$15,000 on each visit.

But now, unhappy about the weight limit, he vowed: "I'm never coming back again."

He was stopped because his baggage was 700 grams too heavy. He lightened the load by throwing away a few bottles, and was allowed through.

A few policemen and MTR security guards were stationed at the wide gate to maintain order, as the occasional argument broke out between staff and passengers.

A woman from Shenzhen said she was unhappy to be stopped when her bag of formula milk and napkins weighed 32.5kg. She gave some formula to a friend and was allowed to board.

Until now the only restriction was a total dimension limit of 170cm for one piece of luggage.

About five people an hour were stopped at the Sheung Shui station gate because their bags exceeded either the weight or dimension limit, the South China Morning Post observed. Some bags were as heavy as 45kg.

One elderly woman said the new rule would hurt her parallel trading income.

She has been earning more than HK$100 for each trip, but now her income would suffer because she could not make more trips to compensate for the smaller bag limit.

Her boss weighed and measured her luggage yesterday to make sure it would get through, she said.

Others complained that it took too long to weigh packages. At one point in the afternoon, more than 30 people were waiting in the queue.