City Weekend

Pokemania hits Hong Kong’s iconic trams

Players have found that ‘ding dings’ are good places for finding Pokemon, with one tracking down more than 40 on a ride from Causeway Bay to Shau Kei Wan

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 August, 2016, 11:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 August, 2016, 11:00am

The popularity of Pokemon Go is believed to be behind a rise in tram patronage in Hong Kong, with groups of young players using the “ding dings” to hunt Pokemon.

The trams, which traverse Hong Kong Island at a slow speed similar to running, appear to be attracting hordes of Pokemon trainers, as players are called.

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While Pokemon Go is designed to encourage players to explore their cities on foot, many ambitious trainers cheat the game’s GPS tracking mechanics by riding the tram.

“There were so many people on the tram that there was absolutely nowhere to sit when we got on,” said Ivy Tsui, 25, who was catching Pokemon last weekend.

“Everyone is playing on the tram. Their eyes were glued to their phones.”

Cecilia Hoi, 25, said she caught more than 40 Pokemon by riding the tram between Causeway Bay and Shau Kei Wan.

She started her hunt at Victoria Park but started using a tram after she learned from friends that she could cheat the game by riding a “ding ding”.

Players are also taking advantage of the tram to visit a number of major Pokestops, which are locations where players acquire valuable in-game items, on Hong Kong Island within a short period of time.

Tsui said the tram took players to a number of interesting Pokestops close to the tram line such as the so-called Lennon Wall in Admiralty – a site used to put up messages during the Occupy protest movement in 2014.

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Anita Chan, the founder of a tourism startup called Sam the Local, has capitalised on the trend by renting an air-conditioned, red antique tram to stage a Pokemon Go party.

Hongkong Tramways would like to remind all Pokemon trainers not to inconvenience other passengers when they capture Pokemon
Hongkong Tramways spokesman

“We decorated the tram with a bunch of Pokemon stickers. We were also doing temporary Pokemon tattoos for all Pokemon trainers,” Chan said.

A Hongkong Tramways spokesman said they were aware of the impact of Pokemon trainers, but that normal tram operations had not been affected.

“Our tram workers do notice that there are groups of young people boarding the tram at various stops, particularly at weekends,” he said. “We are glad to know that many Pokemon trainers have chosen a tram as their ride of choice to capture Pokemon.

“We will keep monitoring the situation. As a public transport operator, Hongkong Tramways would like to remind all Pokemon trainers not to inconvenience other passengers when they capture Pokemon as well as remain aware of their surroundings and stay safe.”