Safe, punctual and cheap compared with subways systems elsewhere in the world, the Mass Transit Railway is probably the asset Hong Kong can be most consistently proud of. Visitors often comment on the MTR's cleanliness (in sharp contrast to the grubby streets above it). Urban planners have theorised that if people are given something good - such as the MTR system - then it is cared for, whereas inherently substandard facilities are often trashed. The first viable scheme for an underground railway was proposed by legislative councillor Kenneth Watson in the early 1960s. This proposal called for deep trenches to be dug along the Hong Kong Island waterfront and up the two sides of the Kowloon peninsula, into which pre-cast concrete tubing would be sunk. These tubes would go under main road arteries wherever possible, thereby eliminating the need for tunnelling. A survey was undertaken, the government took fright at the expense and nothing came of the plan. Not surprisingly, vested interests in the road-transport sector claimed the city could not afford the scheme, that an essentially conservative population would not dare use it, that fares would be prohibitive for most people and many other weak excuses. Further proposals for the MTR were underway when the worldwide oil crisis and sudden collapse of the Hang Seng Index in 1973 sparked a serious rethink. All projects were re-tendered on the instructions of then financial secretary Sir Philip Haddon-Cave. Names of stations changed as the network evolved. Central station was originally called Chater, Yau Ma Tei was Waterloo and Mong Kok was Argyle. These names were intended to reflect the roads radiating from the main line running up Nathan Road; only Jordan and Prince Edward have retained their original names. Large areas in eastern Kowloon and around Tsuen Wan and Kwai Chung were cleared of squatters to make way for the railway lines. On Hong Kong Island, much of the tunnelling had to pass through what was reclaimed land, some of which was water-logged and difficult to excavate. In time, the MTR Corporation became one of Hong Kong's most substantial landlords and makes most of its profit from commercial rents rather than passenger fares. Early predictions that the MTR would cause bus and minibus numbers to dwindle have proved erroneous; almost 30 years after the MTR opened, Hong Kong's roads remain as traffic-choked as ever.