South Island Line enjoys smooth first day
The MTR’s long-awaited South Island Line experienced a smooth first-day of operations on Wednesday. People in the Southern District largely welcomed the latest extension of the city’s rail service.
The opening enabled Hong Kong’s metro rail service to cover all 18 districts.
“The first day of operations was smooth and the situation was within estimates,” an MTR Corporation (MTRC) spokesperson said. As of 5 pm, a total of 92,000 people had taken a ride on the new line, according to MTR statistics.
The Hong Kong’s sole rail service provider deployed extra manpower on Wednesday. This was to offer services to passengers and take crowd control measures if necessary, the spokesperson said.
The “super transfer station” Admiralty — which now connects three lines — coped with the evening rush hours in an orderly manner.
Admiralty Station is set to become a multi-intersection as the Tsuen Wan Line, Island Line and South Island Line meet at the station. So too will the Sha Tin to Central Link, which is expected to start operations in 2019.
Meanwhile, the city’s Transport Department said it has deployed officers at locations in the vicinity of the new stations to monitor traffic and pedestrian flows. The situation went smoothly during the day, the department said.
The line runs for seven kilometers, connecting Admiralty, Ocean Park, Wong Chuk-hang — an old industrial district which will become a new business center — and Lei Tung and South Horizons on Ap Lei Chau Island.
The public largely welcomed the opening. Local resident Addison Wong who lives in Wong Chuk Hang, Southern District, told China Daily that he would like to take the South Island Line during peak hours to avoid traffic jams. He expected the new line would ease congestion in the Aberdeen Tunnel — the only tunnel that links the northern and southern parts of Hong Kong Island.
As the line was the second auto-pilot metro railway after the Disneyland Resort Line, Wong expressed confidence in it. He believes the technology is mature and has been applied in other parts of the world.
A technician from China Railway Rolling Stock Corp said the line is the first one to use domestically developed and produced driverless subway trains in China.
The CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Co manufactured the driverless trains using technologies developed by the mainland. The first driverless train was pro- duced at a factory in Hong Kong on March 18.
Leo Chan, a resident in Ap Lei Chau, also welcomed the new line as it provided an option to escape the usually congested Aberdeen Tunnel.
A Hong Kong Polytechnic University sophomore, Chan took the first train at South Horizons Station at 5:55 am on Wednesday with five friends.
In South Horizons, a densely populated residential area, there was no sign on Wednesday morning of the long queues of commuters usually seen at the bus terminus.
According to the Census and Statistics Department, the Southern District has a population of 278,655.
It is expected that the new line would draw more visitors to Ocean Park as it takes just four minutes from Admiralty.
The park recorded a deficit of HK$241.1 million for the 2015-16 fiscal year, the biggest in almost 30 years. This is mainly due to a sharp drop in visitor numbers.
The MTRC’s stock price rose 0.27 percent on Wednesday to close at HK$37.4.
People travel on the South Island Line on its first day of operations on Wednesday in a car decorated in wildlife illustrations for the line’s Ocean Park Station.