Services on the MTR’s Kwun Tong Line were disrupted and delayed for more than 10 hours after a signalling fault was detected near Kwun Tong station at around 11am on Saturday morning (Aug 5). The train service running between Whampoa and Tiu King Leng only resumed at 9:35pm that day.
Train Service of Kwun Tong Line Severely Disrupted For Over 10 Hours
The signalling disruption near Kwun Tong station severely affected the train services of Kwun Tong Line. A train from Tiu Keng Leng stopped before reaching Kwun Tong. “We couldn’t leave as the train had not reached a station and doors couldn’t open. We waited for about an hour and it was horrible,” a passenger recalled. At least two passengers in the train reported feeling unwell. Platforms at Choi Hung station were also jam packed with passengers waiting for trains.
MTR Faces Possible HK$22.5Million Penalty From Fare Adjustment Mechanism
The MTR corporation explained that the affected sections involve multiple layers of signalling systems and equipment which are highly complex, hence increased the difficulty for the engineers to find out the cause of the broke down. If the incident is proved to be caused by mechanical failure or human error, MTR could possibly be issued a penalty of at least HK$22.5 million according to the current Fare Adjustment Mechanism, which is a system regulating the fare increment of public utilities, including MTR, by the Hong Kong government.
According to the “Service Performance Arrangement” of the Fare Adjustment Mechanism, MTR has to be fined HK$1million for each hour’s service disruption caused by factors within MTR’s control. If train service is delayed for four hours, the fine would be increased to HK$5million, and each hour’s service delay afterwards would be penalised at HK$2.5million. The upper limit of the fine is HK$25million, in which the fine would be given back to passengers in the form of fare concessions.
Will MTR Really Be Fined Over HK$20Million?
Jeremy Tam, Member of Legislative Council, believes that the total fine might be far below HK$20million albeit the current fare adjustment mechanism, as the way MTR calculating the total time of service breakdown has been tricky according to past cases. There were two cases in 2014, in which there were indeed around 3-4 hours service delays. Yet, since MTR was still providing limited services, the delay time was only calculated by the difference in service time of the most severely delayed train and the normal running train. The two incidences hence were only deemed as delayed for 50 minutes and 80 minutes, and MTR was fined for HK$1million and HK$2million respectively.