West Rail trains were unusually crowded yesterday as 100,000 passengers passed turnstiles in the morning to enjoy the four hours of free rides offered by the KCRC as a gesture of goodwill after last week's train fire.
Passenger turnover between 9am and 1pm reached 100,000, about 21/2 times the usual patronage during that period on a weekday.
KCRC's chief executive, James Blake, who helped distribute free tickets at Tsuen Wan West station, said he was delighted to see so many people benefit from the free service, including many elderly. West Rail monthly pass holders, who were excluded from the benefit, will receive a HK$10 discount on their pass next month.
A part-time office worker who took West Rail yesterday said the free rides should have started earlier to cover peak hour so office workers could also benefit. Another commuter said the company lacked sincerity because it had not extended the benefits for the whole day.
KCRC's senior transport director, Lee Yun-tai, said the time was set according to the disruption caused by last Wednesday's fire, when services between Kam Sheung Road and Tsuen Wan West were halted from 9.15am to 12.45pm.