Despite glitches, more than 720,000 take to the sky The public response to the Ngong Ping 360 cable car attraction has exceeded expectations, with more than 720,000 people riding it so far, operator Skyrail-ITM's managing director said. However, Bill Calderwood was disappointed by last week's service delays and disruptions, which were attributed to system glitches and happened despite recent efforts to beef up the maintenance team. 'It is unfortunate but you have to move on,' Mr Calderwood said of the incidents on January 1 and 3. He was particularly disappointed by the setbacks because the cable car reported only three weather-related service disruptions in November and none last month, drawing praise from the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department. The number of maintenance staff has increased to 27 from the original 13 in response to growing demands for the operating system to be kept in proper working order. Night shift crews and 'fast response teams' were also introduced, and certain procedures were modified, Mr Calderwood said. The effectiveness of these adjustments is expected to be tested during the Lunar New Year holiday, when as many as 12,000 people could ride the cable car each day. Mr Calderwood said this was the number of people riding the cable car during the Christmas holidays. The cable car can normally accommodate a maximum of 7,500 people a day, or 15,000 one-way trips. During Lunar New Year, it will probably open an hour early at 9am and close 30 minutes later at 6.30pm. The frequency of service and number of people in each cabin also would be increased, the managing director said. Ngong Ping 360 will also start selling tickets online to the travel trade from next month, although the public would not enjoy this service until at least after the Lunar New Year, Mr Calderwood said. It is also planning promotions during key Chinese holidays to attract more mainland visitors, who make up just 10 per cent of the total. For the 10th anniversary of the handover in July, children born in July 1997 can ride free and a 'grandparents and grandchildren' package offer is also expected. The target is for mainland visitors to account for one-quarter of passengers. The first-year attendance target remains 1.5 million and Mr Calderwood expects to reach the halfway mark next week.