Hong Kong MTR’s new South Island Line to run by end of year
MTR Corp claims big savings on journeys to south of Hong Kong Island, but district councillor condemns lack of discounts for locals
Driverless trains will run from the end of next month on the South Island Line, serving 170,000 people each day.
But, to the dismay of the Southern District residents, there will not be any special concessions for commuters there.
Announcing the fares for the long-awaited line, Jeny Yeung Mei-chun, MTR Corporation’s commercial director, said the corporation set prices according to the existing distance-based fare structure. The line’s opening date has yet to be fixed as the rail operator is preparing a final report for the government’s approval.
The HK$16.9 billion line will stretch from South Horizons on Ap Lei Chau to Admiralty via Lei Tung, Wong Chuk Hang and Ocean Park. The fare from Admiralty to Ocean Park will be HK$5.3 and HK$6.7 to South Horizons, taking four minutes and 11 minutes respectively.
Currently, Citybus route 629 costs HK$10.6 from Admiralty to Ocean Park while route 590A and 90B cost HK$6.5 and HK$5.8 respectively from Admiralty to South Horizons.
“With the new rail service, passengers can save time on their journeys to and from the Southern District,” Yeung said.
She added that rail passengers can save from 20 minutes to one hour on their journey time compared with using buses.
There will be discounts of HK$0.3 to HK$1 for those interchanging between MTR and six designated minibus routes in the Southern District. _
But Southern District councillor Chai Man-hon said MTR Corp should introduce fare savers for district residents as compensation for the one-year delay to the new line service.
“We feel angry about the lack of special concessions for the residents. At least MTR Corp should introduce fare savers along the South Island Line,” he said.
The 7km South Island Line will run fully automatic three-compartment trains, with a driverless system similar to that of the Disneyland Resort Line on Lantau Island.
The fully automatic operation system is widely used overseas in cities such as Paris, Singapore and Taipei.
Francis Li Shing-kee, MTR Corp’s chief of operations, estimated that the new line would serve up to 170,000 passengers per day, among 350,000 residents and employees in the Southern District.