Passengers blacklisted by the mainland will not be able to buy high-speed rail tickets from Hong Kong, according to the MTR Corporation.

China’s List of Dishonest Persons has been implemented since May, when there were 31 people on the list. By August, there were 247.

Passengers can be put on the list for disturbing order on a railway, smoking in non-smoking areas, ticket scalping, and riding on trains without a valid ticket, among other behaviours. Those on the list may be barred from purchasing high-speed rail tickets for three to six months.

West Kowloon terminus Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link
Members of the public visiting West Kowloon terminus of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link during an open day. Photo: MTRC.

“I hope you can understand that we are linked to the high-speed rail network. We must follow the same rules,” said MTRC Operations Director Adi Lau.

The MTRC said tickets for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link will be available for sale starting next Monday. Sales each day will start at 8am from West Kowloon terminus ticket counters, and at noon via telephone hotline 2120 0888 and on the online platform.

Passengers can buy advance tickets for dates between September 23 and October 2. Each passenger can purchase a maximum of eight tickets and they must produce original copies of identification documents.

But those who want to buy pre-sale tickets in person must access the ticketing counters through exit D2 of the Austin MTR station, as the terminus is not fully open yet.

Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link
Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link ticketing website. Photo: Screenshot.

Lau said he was confident that the ticketing system will be able to handle large amount of transactions at the same time, but hoped passengers could be patient if the system slows down due to traffic.

Commercial Director Jeny Yeung said first class tickets will cost around 1.6 times more than second class tickers. Tickets will be priced in Hong Kong dollars, but the price will change every month based on RMB exchange rates. The rate will be decided on the 21st day of each month according to the median rate of the People’s Bank of China.

Passengers can also buy tickets from licensed travel agencies and pick them up at the West Kowloon terminus.

Station and train facilities 

Passengers are advised by the MTRC to arrive at least 45 minutes before departure time.

There will be around 30 restaurants in the non-paid area of the station but there will not be any restaurants within the paid area. Passengers will be allowed to bring food and drinks onto the trains.

West Kowloon terminus Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link
West Kowloon terminus of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link.

The combined dimensions of luggage should be less than 130cm and bags should weigh below 20kg. Passengers can bring bottles of nail polish with a volume of less than 20 millilitres and hair styling products with a volume of less than 120 millilitres, as well as no more than two lighters or two boxes of matches.

Lau said the limitations follow mainland rules: “This was set because we have to be connected to the mainland network. We must strictly follow the same rules.”

Passengers can change their tickets once but they can only change the date, time and train cabin. The departure point and destination cannot be altered.

Instead, travellers can also choose to return the tickets and receive between 50 and 95 per cent of the fare depending on the time from scheduled departure.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.