A new generation of railways in Hong Kong
12 February 2014 • Author(s): Jay Walder, CEO, MTR Corporation
2014 is shaping up to be another exciting year for MTR. We are celebrating the 35th anniversary of the start of MTR service in Hong Kong, which opened on 1 October 1979 with nine stations along an 8km-long stretch of track in Kowloon. Though the initial operation was small in scale, it was large in impact. The launch of a purpose-built modern transit system was a milestone not just for transportation in Hong Kong but for the development of the whole city. A typical commute was previously characterised as a stifling ride in an overcrowded bus through heavy traffic, but with the advent of the MTR, journeys around town became not only fast, but also convenient and comfortable. As the rail network expanded, the city grew and the economy prospered. Hong Kong became one of the world’s most dynamic international cities with the MTR an important part of it.
Today, you could no more imagine Hong Kong without the MTR than you could London with – out the Tube or Paris without the Métro. Our world-class operations carry 5.1 million passengers a day and we deliver them to their destinations on-time, 99.9% of the time. As we look back to celebrate our anniversary in 2014, there’s a lot to be proud of. There cannot, however, be any room for complacency. The simple truth is that a densely populated and busy city like Hong Kong could not function effectively without this type of high quality performance. And it’s not the only city in the world today that is facing that imperative.