Smooth sailing for South Island Line as schools reopen, but Island Line power glitch sees delays

Old habits die hard for some commuters however, as many still choose buses and minibuses

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 January, 2017, 1:54pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 January, 2017, 1:57pm

Operation of the MTR’s South Island Line remained smooth on the first school day after the New Year holidays, although a power failure on a separate line led to delays at Admiralty.

The HK$16.9 billion extension, aimed at serving commuters in Southern District, may also take a little longer to catch on, as many residents still continued to rely on bus and minibus services.

At Nam Ning Street in Aberdeen, the pick-up point for four minibus routes to Causeway Bay and Wan Chai, queues were still common during the Tuesday morning rush hour.

While a feeder route to Wong Chuk Hang station began operation last week, many said it was inconvenient and preferred door-to-door transport.

Yuen Shui-lun, station chief of AMS Public Transport Holdings, which operates the regular and feeder minibus routes, said some time may be needed to change people’s habits.

“Most passengers are locals from Aberdeen – they have been used to this mode of transport for years,” he said.

Yuen added that the operation of the new route to Wong Chuk Hang station was “smoother than expected”, and uptake was reasonably strong, with most minibuses full before leaving the station at 10-minute intervals.

Observations by the Post suggested an increased patronage at the South Island Line on Tuesday morning, with most Admiralty-bound trains running at near-full capacity.

Student Candy Wong Yuen-shan, a South Horizons resident who goes to school in Causeway Bay, said she opted for the MTR because of the half-priced student fare.

“But I like taking the bus more as I can nap while sitting down,” she said.

Despite smooth operations on the South Island Line, a half-hour backlog was seen at the Island Line platform in Admiralty station – dubbed the “mega interchange” connecting three lines – after a power failure near Sai Wan Ho station at about 9.30am.

With trains running at reduced frequencies, many commuters had to wait for two or three trains before they could board.

The problem did not affect the South Island Line however and the technical glitch was fixed at about 9.50am.