MTR service disruptions require a bigger stick than small fines for long delays
The government is the major shareholder of the MTR, Hong Kong’s rail operator. Under an agreement between the government and the MTR, the company needs to pay a fine if there are delays of more than 31 minutes. Also, the company needs to inform the government about service disruptions of more than eight minutes.
However, the government now seems to have positioned the MTR as just another company while the rail operator has its eye only on profit.
Since last year, there have been many service disruptions on the MTR, but even in the case of the 10-hour service disruption on the Kwun Tong line in August last year, the company only paid a relatively small fine. While the agreement has stipulated that the MTR has to pay a fine if the longest delay of a train exceeds half an hour, this does adequately not address the fact that many passengers, and many schedules, are affected by MTR delays.
The latest MTR scandal involving the construction of a platform at Hung Hom is just another reflection of the poor management of the rail operator.
Kingsley Kwong, Tseung Kwan O