Continuing improvements to the line will see the service achieving a target capacity of 32,000 passengers per hour THE KCRC ESTIMATES that Ma On Shan Rail will carry 100,000 passengers daily initially and twice as many passengers by the end of the first year. Eventually, the rail will transport 32,000 passengers every hour in each direction, using a four-car train with a total capacity for 1,340 passengers. Trains arrive at three-minute intervals during peak hours and every six minutes outside peak hours. The first train leaves Wu Kai Sha at 5.40am and the last train leaves Tai Wai at 1.02am. The benchmark fare for passengers using an Octopus card from Wu Kai Sha to Tai Wai is $5.80, while a single station trip costs $3.20. Wu Kai Sha to East Tsim Sha Tsui costs $11. Travelling on the Ma On Shan Rail to Central and switching from the KCR to the MTR at Tsim Sha Tsui costs $17.40, including a $1.50 discount offered by the MTR for interchanging passengers. The line is divided into north and south zones - Tai Shui Hang to Wu Kai Sha, and Shek Mun to Tai Wai, with travellers paying $3.70 within each zone and $4.50 to cross zones. With the opening of Ma On Shan Rail, the number of passengers using the Tai Wai interchange during the morning peak hour will increase by 15,000, bringing the Tai Wai station up to 70 per cent of its capacity. Before the opening of the new line, only up to 50 per cent of East Rail's capacity was used during the morning peak hour, 8am to 9am. The East Rail has a capacity of 90,000 passengers per hour when it operates 24 southward-bound trains every hour during the morning peak hours. 'East Rail trains have 12 cars, but passengers tend to concentrate in the middle section,' said Li Yun-tai, Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation senior director of transport. 'We have taken this into consideration in designing the interchange to funnel passengers to either ends of the platform to achieve a better use of the train capacity,' he said. 'The Tai Wai station has been expanded to three times its original size to cope with the increased passenger flow.' 'The number of entrances has increased from two to seven after the expansion.' KCRC believes there will be adequate capacity at the Tai Wai interchange to handle the additional patronage from Ma On Shan Rail, and has increased the morning peak train frequency from 22 to 24 trains per hour. KCRC deploys trains with an ergonomically designed interior and environmentally friendly features for the East Rail Extension. All trains used on the line use a 'regenerative braking system' that uses 25 per cent less energy. They are fitted with comfortable seats, easily accessible strap hangers and grab poles, and windows positioned to offer eye-level views for standing passengers. The cars are also equipped with a passenger information display system with large colour LCD panels for a better display of passenger information, real-time news and financial information. 'The locations of the nine stations along the line were selected to ensure that 80 per cent of the population living in the areas served by the new line live within a 10-minute walk to one of the nine stations,' Mr Li said. 'Extensive footbridges, subways and elevated walkways connect the stations to nearby estates, shopping centres and public transport exchanges.' Most of the stations have a ground floor concourse and a single raised platform designed to enable passengers to board trains heading in either direction from the same platform. At Tai Wai, passengers cross the platform to board trains heading to Tsim Sha Tsui, although passengers from Tsim Sha Tsui will have to go to a platform on a different level in order to change to the Ma On Shan line. A new public transport interchange in Tai Wai station is scheduled to be completed in March next year to replace the existing public transport interchange. The current drop-off point for taxis in the bus terminal can be used for taxi pickup and drop-off to cope with increased demand.