Acting Chief Executive Matthew Cheung has said the MTR Corporation should listen to Hong Kong residents, following criticism over its compensation plan for the recent severe delays.

This weekend, the MTRC will offer concessionary fares to all adult passengers using adult Octopus cards – meaning that tickets will be half price, or a similar amount. Those who already enjoy concessionary fares will pay HK$1 per trip.

But lawmakers and residents have complained that it will not benefit workers who were stranded on the way to work on October 16, when severe MTR delays brought the city to a standstill for over six hours.

Matthew Cheung. Photo: GovHK.

Cheung said it was difficult for him to comment on whether the plan was appropriate: “I know the sentiment of the commuters, and I would urge the MTR to take account of the aspirations and views expressed by the community, commuters in particular, on this special arrangement,” Cheung told reporters on Tuesday ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting.

Asked by reporters again if he meant that the selected dates of the compensation plan were not appropriate, Cheung said: “I believe my message is clear.”

Cheung is acting as the chief executive whilst leader Carrie Lam is on an official visit to Japan.

Cheung also said the government was “highly concerned” over traffic issues on the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, where hundreds were stuck in a queue to wait for buses to get on the bridge on Sunday.

Cheung said there was a surge in travellers of around 70,000, which was more than double of the normal weekday figure.

Long queue at the Hong Kong port of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge on October 28. 2018.

“So, that situation was certainly not satisfactory… What’s going to happen is that the Transport Department will work closely with the operators to iron out the problem and find a viable solution, and also work in close liaison with the Zhuhai authorities and the Macao authorities as well,” he said.

“We hope that the operator can provide, deploy more buses to tackle the situation if warranted.”

Kris Cheng

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.