Housewives and the elderly join queues to test the $46b line, which links the Northwest New Territories to urban HK The Northwest New Territories yesterday got its first taste of the new West Rail, which is set to revolutionise public transport for more than a million residents. However, a charity trial run attracted only about 36,000 passengers in the first 10 hours of operation yesterday. Some complained the ride was too shaky. The 30.5km, $46 billion railway linking residents with urban areas of Hong Kong will officially open on Saturday after five years in construction. Projected usage is about 200,000 passengers a day. Key beneficiaries will be New Territories residents who work in Kowloon or on Hong Kong island. However, the passengers who queued up outside Tuen Mun station to ride on the first train at 10am yesterday were mostly housewives and the elderly. The charity ride was priced at $15, and the money will be donated to welfare groups. When operations officially begin, the highest fare will be $12.80 for a ride from Tuen Mun to Nam Cheong. Test runs continue until Saturday. The first passenger through the gates yesterday was Angela Cheng, a 53-year-old housewife who arrived at the station at 9.15am. 'I live in Tuen Mun and wanted to shop around in Kowloon with my daughter. I did not really think about trying the new train. But I guess it might save me 30 minutes of travelling time,' she said. Another passenger, Cheung Jai, 75, said: 'When the MTR was new, my friends and I were working and did not get to ride the first train. Now we can afford to experience this memorable event.' Lee Oi-ying, 60, said after the trip that she was generally impressed with the cleanliness of the trains but added that the compartments shook too much for her liking. Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation chairman Michael Tien Puk-sun, who was not among the first-day passengers, promised to look into complaints about the shakiness of the ride. The new rail line has MTR interchanges at Nam Cheong for the Tung Chung line and at Mei Foo for the Tsuen Wan line. Commissioner for Transport Robert Footman, who talked to passengers as he joined them on the 30-minute journey from Tuen Mun to Nam Cheong, admitted that some bus routes might be cut as a result of West Rail's operations. 'We will look at the travelling patterns, as well as the vacancy rates of some bus routes, over the next few months,' he said. Road transport operators in the New Territories said they needed more time to assess how many passengers would be lost to West Rail. Minibus drivers' spokesman Leung Hung, chairman of the Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territories Public and Maxicab Light Bus Merchants United Association, said it would take more than 10 days to see how much impact West Rail would have on their business. Northwest Area Taxi Drivers and Operators Association chairman Sunny Wong Wing-chung said there could be a drop in taxi passengers on long trips. Services on the East Rail line between Sha Tin and Kowloon Tong were disrupted for 30 minutes shortly before afternoon peak hour after a cargo train broke down.