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Impatient Hongkongers? Blame the MTR

20 0 41
22.10.2018

Patience is a virtue, so they say. But I have trouble getting a handle on that concept in Hong Kong, which surely is among the most impatient places on Earth. When a bus is a few minutes late or a shop door doesn’t open at an advertised hour and minute, there is foot-tapping and complaining. And, too often, the rush to an alternative can mean lost time and opportunities.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the MTR’s fault. Yes, the MTR subway system, the same network that so spectacularly fell apart recently, throwing Hong Kong’s morning commuting into chaos. The problem is that the MTR has a reputation for being on time, every time. Hongkongers praise it as a shining example of their city’s efficiency and even ability, and compare all other services against it.

Naturally, when there’s a glitch and the promised train doesn’t materialise every two minutes during peak times, commuters are flummoxed. When one doesn’t come in five minutes and an announcement warns that services could be delayed by up to 10 minutes or more because of signal problems, there’s panic.

Hong Kong’s MTR by the numbers

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© South China Morning Post