Serious overcrowding on Hong Kong’s mass transit network an ordeal for commuters

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 November, 2017, 4:21pm
UPDATED : Friday, 03 November, 2017, 7:08pm

I am concerned about overcrowding on public transport. I live in North District and get up every day at 6.30am to be in my office in Central by 9am.

This involves a long journey by MTR on the Kwun Tong and Tsuen Wan lines, which has never been easy, but recently – despite trains every two minutes during rush hour – has become increasingly lengthy, fraught and uncomfortable.

This week, the MTR has been having serious overcrowding problems at Kowloon Tong and Prince Edward stations and on Thursday morning, there were even queues to exit the turnstiles at Central station.

Also, in the evenings during rush hour, there are large queues merely to access the platforms at Central and Kowloon Tong stations. The addition of several new MTR lines (Yau Ma Tei to Whampoa and Admiralty to Aberdeen) has also resulted in more severe crowding at key interchange stations.

Hong Kong has a reputation for having a good transportation system. However, with the government welcoming new mainland immigrants daily and the added complications of parallel traders, shoppers with large luggage and cross-border students, who are all very numerous during rush hour, I am concerned that the transportation situation is no longer sustainable. This is particularly the case in my area, and is becoming a hell for working people with fixed office hours.

The alternative of taking the bus is also not feasible since the cross-harbour buses are crowded and take a lot longer than the MTR.

This all makes for a very frustrated and stressed-out workforce and it is not uncommon to witness arguments and even fights among commuters. Since government officials rarely take public transport, they have no experience of and appreciation for the difficulties facing commuters.

A further limit on the number of immigrants, a clampdown on parallel trader activities, promotions to persuade mainland shoppers to visit during off-peak hours and a change in the cross-border student policy: all these might help to alleviate the problem, which needs to be addressed.

Cecilia Li, Fanling