The concurrent signalling system failures on the Island Line, Tsuen Wan Line, Kwun Tong Line and Tseung Kwan O Line led to serious disruption of train services as well as the subsequent road traffic chaos during the morning peak hours on October 16th. Many arterial roads in both urban areas and New Territories came close to traffic paralysis, affecting millions of commuters. Passengers stuck in train carriages cried out in frustration and it was utter chaos throughout the city.
As this is another serious railway incident after the Typhoon Mangkhut, the DAB is extremely dissatisfied and strongly condemns the fact that even though the MTRC had known ahead of time of the inherent service disruption risks to signal system upgrading, its contingency plans had completely failed. In addition to the Tsuen Wan Line, the Kwun Tong, Island and Tseung Kwan O lines suffered system failures concurrently, during peak hours. It took the MTRC over an hour for emergency repairs work took over an hour, during which it seemed to be at a loss as to what to do — giving the public every reason to be disappointed in MTRC service.
The DAB strongly demands the MTRC to: 1) explain the details of this incident as soon as possible; 2) provide a specific and effective contingency backup plan and make a service pledge that the same problems would not occur again in future replacements of the signalling system; and 3) take special measures in compensating those affected by this incident, like by giving them a complimentary one-day ride or issue compensatory free train tickets.
Given the fact that the different modes of public transport are interlinked, the public will be the first to bear the brunt when an incident occurs for any one of these public transport services. After the severe traffic problems after Typhoon Mangkhut and this train service disruption, the government must conduct a serious investigation and review, improve the current precautionary and contingency measures of the public transport system and optimise the current notification system to ensure that when a major transportation system suffers a malfunction, other transportation systems will be able to provide comprehensive support in due time to deal with traffic paralysis in a way that can get the city moving as quickly as possible.
Media Inquiries: Legislative Councilor Ben Chan (9274 7035)