For anyone who has ever lived outside of Hong Kong and relied on public transportation, the MTR is the Holy Grail of rail travel. That’s why we were surprised to hear that after 35 years of existence this clean, reliable, safe, and inexpensive mode of transportation has a horrible little secret – it is not perfect. In fact it was so imperfect in 2014 that riders will receive discounts next month to make up for the shame of having to ride such a failure of a rail system.
After reviewing the MTR’s 2014 service performance, Operations Director Dr. Jacob Kam noted that while adding more than 1,100 new services and a new railway to serve Western District last year, many trains failed to show up on time for all 1,861,260 trips. A total of 12 trains were delayed by more than 31 minutes producing an embarrassing 99.9% success rate.
If you’re reading this during your commute, you’re probably feeling an urge to immediately boycott the MTR and begin your pilgrimage across the city in disgust, but I urge you to wait. The MTR wants to make it up to you by offering 50% off your domestic travel during what is sure to be an orderly and restrained journey this Chinese New Year (February 20-21 only). Such a transparent attempt to win back the support of commuters is almost not worth taking advantage of, but maybe we should give them another chance to be perfect over the next 35 years.