Stranded passengers blast MTR

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 July, 2012, 12:00am


As Typhoon Vicente brought the city's public transport to a standstill, many residents were forced to sleep in train stations overnight, while others had to brave the fierce winds and rain just to reach home.

Hundreds of commuters were stranded inside train cars and MTR stations after service was suspended due to broken cables and fallen trees. Some slept on the floor on cardboard mats provided by MTR staff. Passengers blamed the cause of the chaos on the lack of information and shuttle buses.

A hotel worker in Hung Hom named Mrs Ho told RTHK yesterday that she had to walk home due to the MTR service suspension, as winds reached speeds of 155km/h or more under typhoon signal No 10.

Ho, who lives in Pok Hong Estate in Sha Tin, finished work at midnight and got on a train bound for Sheung Shui. As she got off in Tai Wai station at about 1am to transfer to the Ma On Shan line, she was told the service had been stopped.

She and a colleague decided to walk, and Ho said she arrived home at around 2am. 'We got all wet from head to toe. We used plastic bags to cover ourselves but they are useless,' she said.

Ho said the ordeal left a psychological impact. 'I could not imagine the wind was that scary. I couldn't sleep the whole night.'

It was also a rough journey for Jessica Lo, who was set to go on holiday in Seoul but was stranded on the way to the airport. The 25-year-old went home to Fanling from work on Monday night to prepare for her trip, but was stuck in Sha Tin station.

She was initially told there was a faulty train ahead. 'Not until two or three hours later did they tell us a fallen tree in Fo Tan was the cause of the disruption,' Lo said.

She stayed at the station until 6.30am, when the MTR staff arranged and paid for cabs for the passengers. 'I was hungry and thirsty. I could hardly sleep,' Lo said.

Even though she arrived at the airport on time, her Korean Air flight was delayed for six hours. Lo said this meant she lost a day on her shopping trip to the South Korean capital under a Smart Holiday tour.

'There's nothing I can do. All I know is now I lost a day for my trip to Seoul,' she said.

A passenger said he got on a train in Kowloon Tong at 11.30pm, but the train did not run for half an hour because of power failure. When he arrived at Tai Wai, he was told the train service was stopped due to typhoon.

'I have asked somebody to resolve the situation. It is already 2am but no one comes. They only apologised. What is the point of saying sorry?' he said.

Another passenger, Ms Law, said she was angry about the MTR management's logistical lapses, arguing there was no reason for her to spend the night in a train. 'We paid our fare. The MTR raises fares every year,' said Law, who arrived home at 8am.

Meanwhile, a police constable from a patrol team in Central District reported losing his pepper spray yesterday morning, after handling falling trees during the storm overnight. Police appealed to anyone who had seen the canister to call 3661 1600.