The Hong Kong MTR Corporation has announced the reduction of weekday services of eight railway lines (East Rail, Tsuen Wan, Kwun Tong, Island, South Island, Tseung Kwan O, Tung Chung, and Tuen Ma lines) during peak and non-peak hours starting Friday, March 4, 2022. Train frequencies of the East Rail Line during weekends and public holidays will also be slightly adjusted.
As a result, passengers will have to wait one to four minutes longer for trains, almost double the wait time for some lines. More specifically, the waiting time during the morning peak hours (from 7.30am to 9.30am) on the East Rail line will go up from 2.9 to 3.5 minutes to 6 to 7 minutes; Tsuen Wan line will increase from 2 minutes to 3 to 3.6 minutes; and the Island line will go up from 1.9-2.9 minutes to 3.4-3.6 minutes.
As cited by the MTR Corporation, the adjustment is the result of a drastic reduction in passengers due to the pandemic and operations staff shortage. Passenger numbers dropped in the second half of February 2022, and ridership during weekday peak hours was less than half of that in December 2021. The same goes for weekends and public holidays, which saw a decline of about 60 percent from last December. The number of MTR operations, maintenance, and contractor staff, who could not go to work because they tested positive for Covid-19 amassed to about 1,500, creating a workforce shortage and challenges to train operations.
Passengers are advised to check and consider whether their travels will be affected before purchasing any multi-ride tickets. They can also check train services and arrival times on the MTR mobile app (on iOS or Android) by using the 'Next Train' function.
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