My first ride on West Rail immediately swept away any doubts I may have had about whether the train will be my transport of choice for the daily journey between home in Tin Shui Wai and my Quarry Bay office. Even though it means having to change trains twice, I can save 20 minutes compared to travelling by bus. More importantly, it makes me feel part of the big city again. The project may have been delayed for three months and suffered numerous setbacks, but with the opening of West Rail I no longer feel deprived just because I happen to live so far out in the Northwest New Territories. And with a train station right next to my flat, it strikes me that a greener and more spacious neighbourhood is no longer incompatible with modern conveniences. To top it all, it took me only an hour to get to the office, rather than the 100 minutes I normally spend on a bus going through traffic. I have no idea how other passengers will rate the service, but I know they enjoyed the views when the train passed the Kam Tin valley. A few passengers had even brought their cameras to capture the beautiful rural scenery for posterity. Greater comfort, cleanliness and predictability - a maximum waiting time of seven minutes - are also welcoming factors, but even they are not quite enough to fully explain my decision. Unlike buses, the West Rail staff went out of their way to make me feel important. On two occasions I was greeted by smiling receptionists in the lobby of the train station, transmitting the message that I was a valued customer. I doubt if customers are as valued to bus companies, especially passengers taking the bus to Hong Kong island. Even the two-minute walk between the West Rail and MTR stations at the Nam Cheong interchange was a pleasant surprise, being much shorter than I had expected.