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Saturday, Jun 25, 2022

Buses feel pinch of MTR extension

Buses feel pinch of MTR extension

Franchised cross-harbor buses have lost 20,000 passengers a day – equivalent to 10 percent of their overall daily patronage – since the East Rail Line extension opened a month ago, Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan said.
The cross-harbor extension of the East Rail Line – which takes commuters to Exhibition Centre and Admiralty stations where the line previously ended at the Hung Hom terminus – commenced service on June 15.

However, Chan said in the Legislative Council yesterday other public transport modes, including taxis, minibuses, ferries and non-franchised buses, are not significantly affected by the commissioning of the new MTR line extension.

He said this is due to the different roles they serve compared to the railway.

“The Transport Department has come up with a service adjustment plan for franchised buses, including opening a new route 1M that runs between the Exhibition Centre station and Wong Nai Chung,” Chan said.

“The plan will also include canceling route 301 that only runs during morning rush hours between Hung Hom Cross Harbour Tunnel and Central, as well as other special routes that run between the Cross Harbour Tunnel and Hong Kong Island in phases.”

The department will closely monitor the change in demand for all public transport modes and adjust services with operators in due course.

Chan said the East Rail Line, which has already increased frequencies from three minutes to 2.7 minutes a train during the rush hours, will see the waiting times further shortened to 2.5 minutes with three new trains to be added to the fleet by year end.

“If the MTR is to further increase train frequency during rush hours to two minutes, it will have to increase its fleet to 42 cars from the current 34 running on the East Rail Line,” he said.

Since the crossharbor extension started service, patronage on the Tsuen Wan and Kwun Tong lines during rush hour dropped by 20 and 10 percent, which has made the patronage on different lines more balanced.

Legco member Stanley Li Sai-wing from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong proposed that the government introduce trains with 10 to 11 carriages instead of the current nine to carry more passengers.

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