Lengthy wait for express rail tickets

Local | 10 Sep 2018 11:29 am

Hundreds of people, mostly from the media, queued up at the brand new West Kowloon terminus today to buy the first available tickets for the express rail to the mainland.

But while some left happy, having purchased tickets for the very first train, scheduled to leave at 7:00 am on September 23, others complained bitterly at having to be "penned in like cattle" for a chance to buy tickets.

Retiree Johnny Leung, who was the first non-journalist in line, having joined the queue on Saturday, got his wish and bought tickets on the very first train.

MTR Corporation chief executive Lincoln Leung sought him out in the queue to thank him for supporting the new high speed rail line.

But many others did not have such a favorable experience. With MTR staff still getting used to the new ticketing system, the queue moved at a snail’s pace.

Some complained that they were not about to get the tickets they wanted, even though they arrived at 4:00am today – four hours before tickets went on sale.

Anthony, an Australian who has lived in Hong Kong along for 17 years, railed against the MTR for failing to take timely steps to help thin out the crowd – by setting up more ticketing booths or letting customers use telephone or internet booking services. Those services were scheduled to be launched at noon.

RTHK journalists who bought three return tickets to Guangzhou South reported that it took railway staff 13 minutes to process the transaction – excluding the time spent waiting in line. Staff members readily admitted that they were not familiar with the system.

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