MTR offers weekend discounts to make up for breakdown earlier this month

Tens of commuters at Hong Kong station towards Central, which commuters on social media say is now so packed that it’s practically closed. photo via Facebook/Henry Cheung.

The MTR Corporation has announced that it will offer special discounts on train fares for all passengers this weekend to make up for a signal failure earlier this month that caused mass delays and saw thousands of commuters stranded at stations around the city.

The announcement was made by the corporation’s operations director Adi Lau at the Legislative Council’s railway subcommittee yesterday.

He told lawmakers that Octopus card holders travelling by train on November 3 and 4 will have the cost of their trips cut by 50 per cent, while those who already enjoy discounted fares — elderly, children, and students — will only be charged HK$1 (US$0.13) per trip, regardless of travel distance.

In his remarks to lawmakers, he said the MTR would like to apologize to the public for the unprecedented disruption to services on October 16.

He said that the fare discount was “a small token of our gratitude” to passengers for their patience and cooperation.

Lawmakers argued the weekend discount was not enough, with pro-Beijing legislator Wilson Or calling the concession a “small favour”, and Michael Tien calling on the corporation to offer a 20 per cent discount over five consecutive work days instead, AM730 reports.

Ming Pao reported that when asked by lawmakers why this special discount was limited to the weekends and not extended to weekdays, when most people work, Lau said suggested it would avoid overcrowding.

“Today, especially during peak hours, the number of passengers is already very high. So we feel it would be safer to do it on Saturday and Sunday,” he said.

Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan told the MTR corporation to consider lawmakers’ views about revising the offer.

Lawmakers were not the only people who were unhappy with the MTR’s fare discount, many commenters took to Facebook saying they don’t use the MTR during their weekends, and that they should make fares half price for at least a week.

One person wrote: “No one is asking you for compensation, the public only wants you to do your job, and you can’t even do that so you have to arrange for these ‘small favours’ for the public.”

Others — referring to typhoon Mangkhut which struck the city in September and also saw widespread delays across public transport — also asked “where were the discount fares for people after the typhoon?”

Some did see the bright side, with one person commenting “I can go to Disneyland for HK$1!”

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