The MTR is one of the largest, most financially stable companies in Hong Kong and still they skimp on the basics such as customer service and making sure they have enough people on duty to deal with the masses
Let me make this clear, I think we have the best public transport in the world today and a major part of that is down to the MTR (Mass Transit Rail), which for the most part it is simply amazing.
However in recent years a few problems have appeared -
- overwhelming crowds at certain times of the day and at certain stations
- lack of front line staff to deal with the masses
Now I just happen to know that in Hong Kong at the moment are a team of experts from Mass Transit Operators in major cities around the world with a brief to advise about dealing with the crowds we are experiencing so I will not dwell on that issue as it is hand.
Of more concern is the absence of adequate members of front line staff at major stations and an abundance of staff at less busy stations.
They say a picture paints a thousand words - the image of the Customer Service Centre highlights the issue - a busy station, mid morning and 1 person on duty, this is simply crazy and very annoying.
I use the MTR daily, I am on and off the trains all day and am in many different stations and this is not a new problem.
In a nutshell we have issues on the MTR because if a massive increase in the number of people visiting Hong Kong.
- in 2003 we had 16 million visitors
- in 2012 we had 49 million visitors
These visitors, like locals use the MTR to get around and the FIVE problem stations are:- Tsim Sha Tsui, Admiralty, Causeway Bay, Mongkok and Kowloon Tong.
Most of our visitors are from Mainland China (35 million in 2012) and the problem could simply be a lack of Mandarin speaking front line staff but surely this should not be an issue for one of the largest, most powerful and most profitable companies in Hong Kong.
Hong Kongers find this issue annoying imagine how visitors must feel.
At the Customer Service Centre you can:
- Buy the Octopus Card
- Get change
- Ask directions
and that is the root of the problem, they could cut down on queues dramatically just by having 2 / 3 staff members on hand to answer questions away from the booth, I have seen them a few times in TST Station but the schedule seems to be random - again it just seems incomprehensible that they cannot assign staff to perform this very simple but very useful function in our busiest stations, all the time.
Another solution would be to allow the purchase of Octopus Cards from any 7 - 11 Convenience Store, at the moment you can only buy them from the Train Stations.
They are going to have to do something soon as the train stations are getting really, really crowded every day now and the problem is only getting worse.
End of rant no. 2
I do personal walking tours around Hong Kong, I am on the streets every day and I have a somewhat interesting perspective of this wonderful city I have called my home for 37 years. My private walking tours are perfect for visitors who want a detailed overview of Hong Kong prior to exploring on their own and for people who are only here for a day or two who want to make the most of their limited time here.
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