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Old October 9th, 2015, 05:01 AM   #3821
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Cycling enthusiasts set for Hong Kong's first 'cyclothon', but will MTR let them ride?
8 October 2015
South China Morning Post Excerpt

The Tourism Board has urged cyclists taking part in this weekend's cyclothon to take public transport to the event, but could not guarantee the railway operator would allow bikes onto trains or would not fine riders for carrying oversized baggage.

The first Hong Kong Cyclothon kicks off in Tsim Sha Tsui on Saturday and will feature a mixture of amateur and professional races among a series of events and attractions for cycling enthusiasts.

The board's director of event and product development, Mason Hung Chung-hing, said yesterday it had notified the MTR that a large number of riders would potentially want to use the railways this weekend due to the closure of roads and traffic diversions for the cycling events. Hung said shuttle buses had also been arranged.

"When getting on board, riders have to take off one of the wheels [on a bicycle], as suggested by MTR rules," Hung said.

But even without one wheel, bikes might still exceed the maximum length of baggage permitted by the railway operator and be treated as "oversized baggage".

When asked if the board could guarantee the MTR would not fine such passengers, Hung said: "I do not know how to answer that question. But we have notified the railway operator of the event."

Hung said the MTR would not be offering special compartments for cyclists or their bikes.

An incident last month in which a young musician was stopped from entering Tai Wai station carrying a cello sparked a protest against the MTR's rules on baggage.
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Old October 11th, 2015, 09:36 AM   #3822
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By dorahhon from dcfever :

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Old October 15th, 2015, 05:07 AM   #3823
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Government asked MTR to enforce ban on big bags
15 October 2015
South China Morning Post Excerpt

Rising number of passengers meant action was necessary, transport minister tells lawmakers

The recent increase in enforcement action against commuters carrying oversized luggage on MTR trains stemmed from a request by the government, the transport minister told lawmakers yesterday.

Frontline MTR staff executed the policy according to the corporation’s by-laws without exercising discretionary power, Secretary for Transport and Housing Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said.

Cheung was responding to a question from legislator Ma Fung-kwok about whether the government was aware of the reasons why the MTR had been enforcing luggage size restrictions more stringently.

“Because of a rise in the number of passengers carrying large objects in recent years, including parallel-goods traders at some of the stations, there are strong calls in society to address that, and the government asked the MTR Corporation to carry out the by-laws strictly,” Cheung said.

“Size restrictions vary from place to place in the world, depending on each rail operation. Compared with other systems, Hong Kong’s lies somewhere in the middle.

“When compared with Singapore, the system there is stricter than Hong Kong’s.”

The minister quoted the MTR Corp as saying its frontline staff had no discretionary authority in executing the by-laws.

“One can imagine the resulting chaos if all 4,000 frontline staff exercised their own discretionary power according to different standards,” he said.
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Old October 16th, 2015, 07:49 PM   #3824
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Allow boarding of large musical instruments first then relax scope of restriction
14 October 2015
Sing Tao Group

The MTR will next month launch a pilot registration system that allows registered passengers to carry oversized musical instruments on to trains. This measure is an attempt to strike a balance between safety in the trains and meeting the needs of people with limited financial resources such as students. If it works, the company can look into expanding the scope to cover other cultural and recreational items.

Earlier, some students carrying musical instruments such as the cello and guzheng into an MTR station were intercepted by its staff. They were not allowed on to the train because their luggage was oversized. They were also warned that there would be a penalty if the regulation was breached again. It stirred up a dispute and triggered a protest with people carrying musical instruments of different sizes packing into an MTR station.

In this dispute, some citizens criticized the MTR's luggage size restriction for being too harsh. With the popularity of music education, many schools have musical bands. Some students carrying slightly oversized musical instruments to school or back home for practice and performance may not be able to afford travelling by taxi every time. But musical instruments such as cellos are not that seriously oversized, so these citizens believe there is room for discretion, criticizing the staff for rigid law enforcement. Moreover, other citizens criticized the staff for "bullying the weak and fearing the strong" in targeting students but turning a blind eye to parallel goods traders.

Registration system better than discretion

The MTR has recently stepped up enforcement of its luggage size restriction, directed at the issue of cramped condition and disturbance to passengers caused by parallel goods traders. Although MTR staff had persuaded many of them carrying very large pieces of luggage to leave, there were still many who got off. As law enforcement must be unbiased, students carrying large musical instruments were unfortunately affected.

The MTR has a large passenger capacity while trains are often cramped. Luggage size restriction is needed so as not to make them more crowded and have escape blocked in case there is an accident. If the staff are allowed to decide at their own discretion without any clear criteria, there will be even more disputes instead as people hold different yardsticks. It may even "cause chaos once relaxed" due to the preference for being lenient rather than strict. The registration system to be launched allows standard examination and approval based on permits, which is a reasonable and pragmatic arrangement.

The pilot stage conceived by the MTR applies only to musical instruments and during off-peak hours.

Rush-hour restriction should be scrapped

The dispute over carrying large musical instruments on to a train caused a stir not only in the music sector. Others facing a similar situation have their own views too. After cellos are allowed on to trains, how about aquaplanes There are just too many items to list.

As the registration system is a new measure, it should be simple instead of being complicated in the beginning. The scope should be set narrower to facilitate handling and the launch must be sped up. Otherwise, it will be doubly complicated to set down criteria for all possible items, which only delays the scheme. Moreover, if any problem is noted during the testing period, it will be easier to control and correct on a smaller scale, thus preventing a major chaos.

As the system applies only to off-peak hours, it may be quite inconvenient for some students who have to travel with a musical instrument, because they often go to school during rush hours. Even if they want to take a taxi, it may be difficult to hail one. If, during the testing period, the number of objects registered is not large and no serious cramping appears, the MTR should consider scrapping the time restriction or relaxing it earlier.

The registration process should be convenient and easy. All parties concerned should cooperate to make the system a success, setting down a good foundation so that restrictions on other necessary cultural and recreational items can be relaxed. MTR staff can then better focus their attention on intercepting parallel goods traders who carry supersized luggage on to the trains.
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Old October 17th, 2015, 03:49 PM   #3825
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Old October 19th, 2015, 04:58 AM   #3826
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Old October 19th, 2015, 05:56 PM   #3827
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Common sense needed on MTR
19 October 2015
South China Morning Post

The government has put its hand up for the public outcry over the ban on large musical instruments on the MTR. It asked the MTR to apply its by-laws strictly in the interests of passenger safety and comfort following complaints about a rise in the number of people carrying oversized luggage, including cross-border parallel-goods traders. As a result about 4,000 frontline staff were left with no discretion in enforcing baggage rules that are based on fixed measurements. That may be a sensible safeguard against the perception of double standards, which prompted the public outrage, but it also left no room for the use of common sense in striking a balance between the interests of people who make millions of MTR trips a day for all manner of reasons.

Some staff at least do have it. This is demonstrated in an anecdote related by cello student Calvin Ho, who was asked to leave a train last month. He recently braved the MTR again with his cello strapped to his back. Instead of asking him to leave, a platform assistant suggested he board the front or end carriage where there were fewer passengers.

Meanwhile, after a public consultation, the MTR is to launch a registration scheme to allow musicians to carry instruments on trains that slightly exceed existing size restrictions for a trial period during off-peak hours. The exclusion of peak hours is ultimately problematic, although it is hard to imagine squeezing even a flute into some packed trains at these times. It is a small step that lacks pertinent detail about how it would work in practice without being open to abuse. But it is nonetheless welcome for a little more flexibility, without reopening the door to double standards, such as those highlighted recently in social media with pictures of oversized items in train compartments, some belonging to parallel traders.

The safety and comfort of passengers remains paramount. But during the trial registration scheme the MTR should also consider less bureaucratic solutions, such as areas for storage of big items or designation of front or rear cars for carrying them.
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Old October 20th, 2015, 11:32 AM   #3828
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I really don't get why it's so hard to put an exception in for musical instruments. They haven't gotten this strict because of the massive influx of musical instruments, so the rules should not apply to individuals carrying their musical instruments for personal use.

How many double basses would be carried on the MTR anyway? Probably no more than 2 a day.

It's just easier for MTR employees to go after docile Hong Kong students than in-your-face parallel goods traders.
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Old October 20th, 2015, 04:02 PM   #3829
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly_Walks View Post
I really don't get why it's so hard to put an exception in for musical instruments. They haven't gotten this strict because of the massive influx of musical instruments, so the rules should not apply to individuals carrying their musical instruments for personal use.

How many double basses would be carried on the MTR anyway? Probably no more than 2 a day.

It's just easier for MTR employees to go after docile Hong Kong students than in-your-face parallel goods traders.
The point is large luggage pose a safety threat to other passengers, especially during rush hours. Whether that large luggage is goods for parallel trading or a musical instrument is irrelevant. Either one bumping into a crowd of passengers would cause injuries.

I think the criticism over selective enforcement is valid and worth exploring, but granting exceptions for instruments or sports equipment will make trains more dangerous for everyone.
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Old October 20th, 2015, 07:55 PM   #3830
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
The point is large luggage pose a safety threat to other passengers, especially during rush hours. Whether that large luggage is goods for parallel trading or a musical instrument is irrelevant. Either one bumping into a crowd of passengers would cause injuries.

I think the criticism over selective enforcement is valid and worth exploring, but granting exceptions for instruments or sports equipment will make trains more dangerous for everyone.
No, you are just repeating talking points MTR keeps throwing into the media as an excuse why they started enforcing this rule. The fact of the matter is, parallel goods traders with over-sized luggage were becoming too big of a nuisance, hindrance, and yes, danger in the MTR.

Big musical instruments are so limited in their numbers they have never caused a substantial threat to safety. Large people are more dangerous in the MTR. Umbrellas have hurt more people on the MTR than musical instruments.
Your logic applied in these case: "granting exceptions for large people or umbrellas will make trains more dangerous for everyone".
Rather silly, isn't it?
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Old October 20th, 2015, 08:43 PM   #3831
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Old October 21st, 2015, 02:30 PM   #3832
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#Busy #Tuesday #Morning @ #Central #MTR #HongKong by Ju Jhar™, on Flickr
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Old October 21st, 2015, 07:09 PM   #3833
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
The point is large luggage pose a safety threat to other passengers, especially during rush hours. Whether that large luggage is goods for parallel trading or a musical instrument is irrelevant. Either one bumping into a crowd of passengers would cause injuries.

I think the criticism over selective enforcement is valid and worth exploring, but granting exceptions for instruments or sports equipment will make trains more dangerous for everyone.
I for one don't have any problem on the alleged selective enforcement. MTR staff should have their own judgement on whether a particular item is posing threat to other passengers. The one thing that Hong Kong seriously lacks nowadays is common sense and understanding, not more rigid regulations.
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Old October 21st, 2015, 07:41 PM   #3834
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly_Walks View Post
No, you are just repeating talking points MTR keeps throwing into the media as an excuse why they started enforcing this rule. The fact of the matter is, parallel goods traders with over-sized luggage were becoming too big of a nuisance, hindrance, and yes, danger in the MTR.

Big musical instruments are so limited in their numbers they have never caused a substantial threat to safety. Large people are more dangerous in the MTR. Umbrellas have hurt more people on the MTR than musical instruments.
Your logic applied in these case: "granting exceptions for large people or umbrellas will make trains more dangerous for everyone".
Rather silly, isn't it?
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaoTze View Post
I for one don't have any problem on the alleged selective enforcement. MTR staff should have their own judgement on whether a particular item is posing threat to other passengers. The one thing that Hong Kong seriously lacks nowadays is common sense and understanding, not more rigid regulations.
What if one day a lot of musical instruments and sports equipment are on board crowded trains? What if a passenger is injured by a falling single large musical instrument? You don't need a whole group of them to cause harm to fellow passengers, so the number of instances is irrelevant. Would be silly to say some large items should be banned but not other large items. That argument lacks common sense. All large items pose the same risk regardless if a box of milk powder or a heavy large musical instrument.

Common sense should not lead to selective discrimination.
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Old October 21st, 2015, 09:12 PM   #3835
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
What if one day a lot of musical instruments and sports equipment are on board crowded trains? What if a passenger is injured by a falling single large musical instrument? You don't need a whole group of them to cause harm to fellow passengers, so the number of instances is irrelevant. Would be silly to say some large items should be banned but not other large items. That argument lacks common sense. All large items pose the same risk regardless if a box of milk powder or a heavy large musical instrument.

Common sense should not lead to selective discrimination.
Mobile phones also cause dangerous situations in the MTR. They are not banned.


Parallel goods traders are the ones creating a nuisance, hindrance, and dangerous situations in the MTR. Musical instruments do NOT.

You can easily make an exception for musical instruments.


If your fantasy fanfare does occur in the MTR some day, and an army of cellos and double basses invades the stations, throwing their instruments into passengers, then sure, you can still remove them for safety reasons.
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Old October 22nd, 2015, 05:17 AM   #3836
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly_Walks View Post
Mobile phones also cause dangerous situations in the MTR. They are not banned.


Parallel goods traders are the ones creating a nuisance, hindrance, and dangerous situations in the MTR. Musical instruments do NOT.

You can easily make an exception for musical instruments.


If your fantasy fanfare does occur in the MTR some day, and an army of cellos and double basses invades the stations, throwing their instruments into passengers, then sure, you can still remove them for safety reasons.
I doubt if a passenger gets injured by a large item on the MTR, the MTR can dispel its responsibility by saying that type of large item is less dangerous than parallel goods when the injury is clear. That sort of excuse will not likely hold up in court as per the reasonable person's assessment and could even be construed as negligence.

Do mobile phones pose the same or even higher risks than large, bulky items, regardless of whether they are goods being hoarded for parallel trading, or a heavy and large musical instrument? The key takeaway is what are the biggest risks that need to be addressed, not what are all the risks to remove, which is never possible.
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Old October 22nd, 2015, 11:51 AM   #3837
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You keep talking about danger and risk. These are just the excuses MTR gives so they have a means to stop parallel goods traders. The reason this ban was put in place was because of the ridiculous amount of space parallel goods traders were taking up in the MTR.

A whole MTR filled with mattresses and refrigerators: that is the sort of thing the ban was put in place for. Not one student carrying a cello.

"The key takeaway is what are the biggest risks that need to be addressed, not what are all the risks to remove, which is never possible." Exactly. Musical instruments pose virtually no risk. They should be allowed. Glad we agree.
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Old October 22nd, 2015, 02:08 PM   #3838
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Quote:
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Untitled by briyen, on Flickr


Nice "metro trolling".
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Old October 22nd, 2015, 02:09 PM   #3839
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Quote:
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I doubt if a passenger gets injured by a large item on the MTR, the MTR can dispel its responsibility by saying that type of large item is less dangerous than parallel goods when the injury is clear. That sort of excuse will not likely hold up in court as per the reasonable person's assessment and could even be construed as negligence.
If someone brings an oversized item on the MTR, then he should be prepared to take up the legal responsibility if someone else has been injured by his luggage. MTR staff not enforcing their regulations due to whatever reason does not make the practice legal. I'm just saying for items that pose relatively low risk, MTR staff should be given the free hand to not strictly enforce the regulations.
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Old October 22nd, 2015, 02:12 PM   #3840
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Having read the discussion, I have to say HK has to build much more lines to alleviate the traffic.
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