MTR normal as drivers stay on job

Local | Charlotte Luo 20 Aug 2019

MTR service was spared disruption yesterday as a limited number of drivers joined a non-cooperation action.

Nearly 700 drivers signed a joint petition last week demanding the MTR Corporation Ltd condemn the police for various actions affecting railway safety, not to blindly cooperate with the police, and thoroughly clean the stations affected by tear gas.

Police used tear gas and beanbag rounds inside MTR stations in last two weeks, and were slow to reach Yuen Long station when thugs beat passengers on July 21.

While some drivers appealed for colleagues to apply for leave yesterday, not many heeded the call.

"All nine lines had drivers participating. We are still collecting the actual number of participants," a driver, Wong, told The Standard.

"It's not a strike. It's a way to express ourselves," said Wong, who drives on the Tsuen Kwan O Line.

He said operations director Adi Lau Tin-shing had sent an internal letter to operations staff that the management had a meeting with police and brought in protective gear for frontline workers.

Still he said, MTRCL did not have measures to protect frontline staff and passengers.

He said 200 drivers responded to a questionnaire asking if they were willing to join an action.

Another driver said the management did not inform the police about the dissatisfaction of MTR frontline staff, and the gear did not solve the root of the problem.

An MTR spokeswoman said services yesterday were generally normal.

Citizens, meanwhile, cleaned Sham Shui Po MTR station yesterday, wiping off tear gas residue, in response to an online call.

They used disinfecting wipes to clean the ticketing machines and street maps, with MTR staff at the scene to maintain order.

A volunteer said although MTRCL had already sent staff to clean up, it could not erase the fear in passengers' hearts.

Police fired several rounds of tear gas near Sham Shui Po station last Thursday.

The volunteers said MTR should use industrial cleaning equipment and hire a third party to test the results.

Last Friday, some citizens cleaned Kwai Fong MTR station, where police fired tear gas on August 11.

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