Recently there was a major signal malfunction on the East Rail Line during the morning rush hour that paralyzed it for close to two hours, affecting tens of thousands of passengers. The MTR is a vital part of the public transport system and carries around 5 million passengers daily, so any malfunctions or delays will directly affect an enormous number of passengers. The MTRC is already subject to a fine mechanism for such delays and incidents, that is a “10% discount on every second trip on the same day” each year to “recompensate” the public. However the calculation method, the timing and amount of fines are often criticized for not being an effective deterrent to the MTRC and for not directly compensating affected passengers.
Therefore, we propose to look at and reform the system through which such fines are imposed, including improving the method of calculating delays, the fines to be paid and adding extra compensation to affected passengers as to make the MTRC punishments truly have deterrent value. This will make the MTRC improve its standard of service and work hard to limit incidents and malfunctions to provide a reliable public transit service for the people of Hong Kong. Our proposals include: (Appendix in Chinese only)
1.Provide free single journey tickets as compensation
This is to provide “direct compensation” to passengers directly affected by the delays. We propose that the MTRC must provide a free single journey ticket to every affected passenger.
2.Improve the method of calculating delays
When there is a delay and even when the MTR is trying to fix the problem and run limited services, fines should be imposed starting from the 31 minute mark until full train services are resumed. Change the current system that only calculates the effect of the delay on the most delayed train during these times. This new method would calculate the effect that these delays have on train services.
3.Continue to set the fine for limited train services
Make adjustments as noted in 2) and we propose continuing to set the fine for limited train services as 50% of the fine for no train services (see below chart).
Fines and punishment
Train service delay No train service Fines and punishment
(existing mechanism ) Limited train service
Greater than 31 minutes
and less than one hour $1 million $500,000
Greater than 1 hour
and less than 2 hours $2 million $1 million
Greater than 2 hours
but less than 3 hours $3 million $1.5 million
Greater than 3 hours
but less than 4 hours $5 million $2.5 million
Penalty tacked on top for
any extra delay longer $2.5 million $1.25 million
than 4 hours (or less than 1 hour)
Legislative Councilor Ben Chan (9274 7035),
Spokesperson for the Alliance to deal with the issue of traffic congestion in New Territories East Bill Tang (9472 9744)
Sha Tin District Council Traffic and Transport Committee Chairperson Li Sai-Wing (9782 9431)