South Is­land Line en­joys smooth first day

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By LI YINZE and LUIS LIU in Hong Kong Con­tact the writ­ers at yinzeli@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

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.

PARKER ZHENG / CHINA DAILY

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.

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