Monday, June 7, 2010
The MTR Corporation, the only railway company in Hong Kong since the rail merge in 2007, has loosened their rules. The corporation proposed the new modifications, then transferred the proposal to the Legislative Council, and will be effective from September 2010.
The new set of rules allow ‘non-disruptive’ use of profanity in private conversations, and the punishment for inflammatory use of expletives is lowered from a fine of HK$5000 to HK$2000. The new set of rules have also excluded the regulation against wandering in MTR premises, as well as the rule against attempting to eat or drink.
Democratic Party member James To has expressed his concerns about a new rule that outlaws the display of promotional material. According to To, the wearing of Tiananmen Square Incident-related T-shirts or acting the Goddess of Democracy may breach the new MTR rules.
He also deems two other regulations, namely the prohibition of distracting MTR staff members and photography and video-recording in the train carriages, ‘unreasonable’.
Unionist Li Fung-ying is also confused whether chewing gum was considered food. MTR head of operations Choi Tak-tsan replied that only what is regarded as food counts. They had not yet discussed on this matter, said Choi, and will soon. Li is also concerned about the rule which prohibits the entering of the first-class carriage without buying a ticket. Her main concern is whether the passenger will be allowed to buy the ticket rather than being fined HK$500.
Wong Kwok-hing believes that the MTR corporation should call upon more effort to advertise a more ‘civilised’ and ‘polite’ way of taking the train. Jeffrey Lam thinks that the new rules do not do enough to restrict shouting. MTR replied that anyone who shouts in the train can be advised to leave the train or even prosecuted.