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Hong Kong MTR

Why the MTR deserves the barrage of criticism from Hongkongers after its latest debacle

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2018, 6:33am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2018, 6:32am

I refer to the article “MTR needs constructive feedback to improve, not a litany of complaints from Hongkongers” (October 18). While Ms Tang surely has a point, I can’t bring myself to defend the MTR in this ordeal. The fierce criticism the company has received is well deserved.

It is hard to swallow the fact that a multinational company that we are told operates one of the best subway systems in the world and that has constructed brilliant undergrounds for major cities such as London and Melbourne can have such a high rate of failure, resulting in episodes that practically shut down the metropolis. The MTR’s response has always been to blame signal failures or busted power supplies, without any evidence of improvements or even a useful explanation for the problems.

It seems to me that the MTR management just shrugs off criticism and hopes time will do the trick. Where are the improvements they promised and should be making?

Unacceptable of MTR to blame computer failure for delays

Criticism fuels improvement, not necessarily by offering useful solutions, but from the fury and discontent of the millions of workers who were stuck on the stuffy platforms and might have been penalised by their companies. This is the driving force that should motivate the railway company to strive to deliver the best possible service.

I don’t feel like teaching the MTR management how to do their job correctly when I’m paying their salaries every time my Octopus card hits the card reader. They are the brains, we are the pockets. If they don’t do their job right, they deserve every bit of criticism we give.

Watch: Severe delays hit Hong Kong MTR

Hongkongers are lenient, tolerant and organised people. However, our tolerance is not infinite. When we pay for a service, we have a certain level of expectation, especially when the provider is a multibillion-dollar company. This time, we might be grumbling at the lengthy delay; next time, it could be something more serious. Although we might not understand the hurdles faced by the corporation, we paid for a service and the MTR didn’t deliver.

This should be a wake-up call for the MTR management to do what they have to do to improve their service, fast. Because our patience is wearing thin and we only want one thing – acceptable service.

Andy Lau, Tsuen Wan