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Old February 27th, 2016, 07:18 AM   #3941
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P2190029 by YKevin1979, on Flickr
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Old March 1st, 2016, 02:07 PM   #3942
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Old March 2nd, 2016, 05:50 PM   #3943
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Large-instrument trial a sound move for MTR
2 March 2016
The Standard Excerpt

MTR Corp Ltd has decided to extend indefinitely its registration scheme for the carriage of large musical instruments after its four-month trial passed smoothly.

The trial began in November after a Baptist University of Hong Kong music student was threatened with a HK$2,000 fine for carrying a cello on the East Rail.

Head of operations Francis Li Shing-kee said more than 2,300 applications were received during the trial period and that the scheme went smoothly, thanks to the cooperation of permit holders.

``Having conducted a thorough review, we are satisfied that the scheme strikes a proper balance between safeguarding the safe operation of the railway while meeting the need of musicians and music students to carry larger-sized instruments during their daily journeys,'' he said.

Passengers are required to apply for a permit to take large musical instruments not exceeding 145 centimeters in length on to trains.

The permit allows the registered person to carry one oversized instrument into stations and trains at any time during service hours, except between 8.15am and 9.15am on weekdays.
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Old March 2nd, 2016, 11:18 PM   #3944
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Well, duh.

A modicum of sanity prevails at last.
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Old March 8th, 2016, 02:14 PM   #3945
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Old March 10th, 2016, 02:58 PM   #3946
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MTR day 7.3.16 (6) by Jamie Lloyd, on Flickr
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Old March 11th, 2016, 01:14 PM   #3947
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MTR profits down as property earnings slip
2016-03-11
RTHK Excerpt

MTR’s annual profit fell 16.7 percent to under HK$13 billion last year, dragged by a sharp fall in property earnings.

It made more than HK$2.3 billion from selling homes here in Hong Kong last year. In 2014, the figure was HK$4.2 billion.

MTR’s chief executive officer, Lincoln Leung, said the company will add more shop space to its property mix. He said in five years’ time, the corporation aims to add over 120,000 square metres of shopping space.

Underlying profit, including the valuation of investment property, was also down 6 percent to HK$10.9 billion.
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Old March 14th, 2016, 06:15 PM   #3948
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Old March 19th, 2016, 08:41 PM   #3949
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Alstom to replace track circuits of five MTR lines and Airport Express in Hong Kong
15/03/2016
Press Release Excerpt

Alstom has been awarded a contract worth €28 million by MTR Corporation to replace the track circuits of five MTR lines and Airport Express in Hong Kong’s metro network by early 2019.

Metro track circuits, which are part of the signalling system, are used to ensure the integrity of the rails and detect the position of the trainsets on the lines. The original track circuits for the six lines were supplied and installed by Alstom between 1985 and 1998. These will now be replaced with Alstom’s latest generation of track circuits to function for another 20 years. No interruptions will occur on the lines, as the works will be performed during the non-traffic hours.

This project will be led by Alstom Hong Kong and supported by the Alstom signalling teams in Saint-Ouen, France.
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Old March 20th, 2016, 08:41 AM   #3950
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Old March 22nd, 2016, 07:27 PM   #3951
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Early MTR fare review mooted
March 22, 2016
Government Press Release

The Government today asked the MTR Corporation to bring forward a review of its Fare Adjustment Mechanism by one year.

Under the 2007 Operating Agreement between the Government and the MTR, both parties may review the mechanism every five years.

The last review in 2013 introduced multiple measures to reduce citizens' fare burden and maintain the MTRís financial viability as a listed company. The next review is due in 2018.

The Government said the experience gained since the last review suggests that there is room for an early review to respond to public concerns about the MTRís overall profitability and passenger affordability, while still respecting the financial prudence required of the corporation as a listed company.

The Government is looking forward to the MTRís early response so that the review can start early, as its objective is for the new mechanism to take effect in 2017.
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Old March 24th, 2016, 02:43 PM   #3952
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Old March 25th, 2016, 02:58 PM   #3953
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Old March 28th, 2016, 08:08 AM   #3954
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Old March 28th, 2016, 05:18 PM   #3955
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Old March 30th, 2016, 03:47 PM   #3956
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The Standard Excerpt
MTR fares to rise 2.7pc
March 30, 2016

The MTR Corp Ltd has announced a 2.7 percent fare hike - the lowest in three years but the seventh such yearly increase in a row - despite another profitable year.

The hikes will take effect from June.

The rail operator announced the increase after the Census and Statistics Department said yesterday the year-on-year increase in the nominal wage index for the transportation sector was 4.1 percent for December 2015.

That led to the MTRCL announcing last night: "In accordance with the Fare Adjustment Mechanism formula, combining half of 4.1 percent with half of the 2.5 percent year-on-year increase in the Composite Consumer Price Index for December 2015 ... and subtracting the Productivity Factor value of 0.6 percent, the Overall Fare Adjustment Rate of +2.7 percent is derived for MTR fares in 2016."

The MTRCL recorded a profit of HK$13 billion last year, but in line with the mechanism it needs to input HK$176 million as the sharing amount and HK$11 million for eight cases of delays over 31 minutes last year according to a penalty system.

Examples based on the 2.7 percent hike could see the adult fare paid through Octopus of HK$11.60 from Mong Kok to Central raised by 30 cents to HK$11.90 and the HK$20.60 from Yuen Long to Hung Hom increased by 56 cents to HK$21.20.

The government last week requested the MTRCL to advance the review of the mechanism so any agreed revision could be applied next year. The railway operator said yesterday it was still studying the request and would respond "in the next few months."
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Old April 7th, 2016, 03:38 PM   #3957
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Fare adjustment system is flawed
4 April 2016
South China Morning Post

A 2 to 3 per cent rise in transport fares should not come as too much of a surprise in times of inflation. But against the backdrop of a staggering HK$13 billion in profits and a deal that seemingly guarantees increases every year, the public can be excused for feeling upset. The 2.7 per cent rise in Mass Transit Railway fares is the seventh in as many years. Although the impact is likely to be eased through a package of fare concessions, passengers will still be paying more.

This state of affairs owes much to a widely criticised fare adjustment mechanism. Following the railway merger in 2007, MTR fares were supposed to rise or fall according to a formula that takes into account changes in wages for transport workers, inflation and productivity. But continuous wage increases and strong inflation mean there has never been a fare cut under the formula.

As a listed company, the MTR Corporation is required to maximise profits and be accountable to its shareholders. But being a public utility serving millions of people every day, it also has its social responsibilities to fulfil. The railway giant is setting aside HK$186 million this year for fare concessions, including HK$11 million as a penalty for service disruptions over the year. This is less than last year's HK$220 million. The amount pales further against its HK$13 billions in profits . With its healthy finances, there is room to do more. Instead of providing periodic discounts to mitigate against the impact of fare increases, the MTR should consider more long-term concessions.

More importantly, the fare adjustment mechanism should be overhauled. The formula was last revised in 2013, with a cap to prevent unreasonably high increases. But it cannot curb an ever-rising trend.

With millions of commuters passing through its gates every day, the railway system is hailed as one of the most efficient in the world. Despite the increases over the past years, the fares are still comparatively low when measured against what commuters in other cities have to pay. But that perception is being challenged by more frequent service delays and cost overruns in new projects. This makes fare increases even more difficult to justify.

Earlier, the government asked the MTR to advance a review of the fare adjustment mechanism by one year. The move was seen as an attempt by the government to head off the pressure arising from the rise this year. The company should cooperate and keep fare adjustments at a reasonable level.
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Old April 10th, 2016, 06:07 PM   #3958
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Old April 12th, 2016, 03:30 PM   #3959
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Old April 14th, 2016, 02:38 PM   #3960
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No relief in sight for crushed commuters
14 April 2016
The Standard Excerpt

If you thought you were being packed like sardines into MTR trains on the Tsuen Wan and West Rail lines, you were right.

Figures for 2015 provided to the Legislative Council's transport panel show that the loading on the Tsuen Wan line was at 102 percent while that on the West Rail was 104 percent.

During morning peak hours, 54,500 people traveled on the Tsuen Wan line every hour in one direction. It was 36,400 for the West Rail line.

To increase capacity, MTR Corp Ltd plans to upgrade its signal system to lift overall capacity by 10 percent. But that would have to wait until 2018, meaning there is little option for passengers but to rub shoulders during the morning rush. Panel chairman Michael Tien Puk-sun said adding one more carriage to all trains can increase capacity by 10 percent by 2018.

In the long term, however, a fifth cross-harbor tunnel should be built from Tuen Mun, via Tung Chung, to Hong Kong Island. Such a line will serve the needs of an increasing population in the northwest New Territories.

The panel was also told that after a review of bylaws, MTRCL proposed to lower the fine for the use of abusive language or "dressing improperly" from HK$5,000 to HK$2,000, while a bylaw prohibiting loitering in or about railway premises is suggested to be canceled.

Separately, Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung has ruled out distributing the special dividends the government receives from the MTRCL to the general public as a reimbursement of high transport fares. The idea was raised by MTRCL boss Frederick Ma Si-hang.
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