All Aboard the Profane Train — MTR to relax bylaws on swearing and video-recording

Photo (for illustration): Myriam Tsen-Kung/Coconuts Media

Apparently, MTR Corp.’s going to tone down some of its arcane bylaws, including the ones banning swearing and video-recording.

Finally! Now we can stop trying to vocalize “$%&#!” — and who knows how much money we’ll save on travel watercolour palettes now that we can actually document incidents on video?! (NB: Sarcasm. Clearly, gouache is the better choice.)

According to the SCMPMTR’s reviewing its bylaws and considering relaxing the aforementioned rules. At the moment, the swearing rule is part of a broader clause against “threatening, abusive, obscene or offensive language”, and “riotous, disorderly, indecent or offensive” behaviour.

Whilst MTR has reportedly proposed to only reduce the fine against swearing — from HKD5,000 to HKD2,000 — apparently, the fine will be imposed when the use of “foul language” either “poses a threat” or “causes a disturbance to other passengers”. So, you know, feel free to cuss at your Octopus card when it doesn’t “dood” immediately, if that’s your thing.

As for the latter rule, the existing bylaws state that passengers can use voice/video recording equipment and cameras to take videos only with the prior approval of MTR Corp.

Probably for the best that one’s being scrapped, considering how addicted Hongkongers are to their smartphones, and the fact that all the footage we have of the shocking MTR fire in February was filmed by passengers.

(Because, as it was revealed afterwards, only about half of all MTR carriages have security cameras. Womp-womp.)

Food, however, is still very much verboten. The SCMP‘s anonymous source said the strict rules against chewin’ and slurpin’ your way through your commute is, well, partially the fault of commuters.

Apparently, workers chowing down on fast-food brekkies and drinking piping hot joe is still a “very common” occurrence on early morning trains. The source also stated that, on occasion, passengers have been caught “eating mangoes and durians and drinking beer”. (One of those is much more of a public nuisance than the others, and we think you know which one.)

Also, sorry music students, scrimping backpackers and parallel traders: oversized luggage and personal items still won’t be allowed on MTR premises for safety reasons. The proposed changes will also see the penalty for posting bills and hawking reduced, and the offense of loitering appealed.

MTR will submit the proposed revisions to LegCo soon, although we’d like to make one request before then — please, please introduce regulations against passengers who shove their way onto a train before anyone on board can even leave.

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