MTR Network Improvements
MTR Corporation has put forth some future projects to the government of Hong Kong to enhance the already vast network of transportation in the city. There are several projects occurring at stations around the city such as adding external lifts at railway stations, creating new subways and station entrances/exits, working to mitigate noise from railways, adding QR Code payment methods, adding more public toilets, adding integrated speed and position monitoring systems (iSPS), improving trains and replacing chillers. All of these improvements enhance the experience of Hong Kong residence, expats, and tourists alike. These projects are ongoing and continue to be improved upon throughout the years.
There are some MTR stations that are above the street level. In order to have easier access and promote community connectivity, external lifts are being retrofitted. There have already been 9 lift installation projects that have been completed. This leaves only two stations that still require some sort of project installation to make station platforms accessible from street level. These are Fortress Hill and Tin Hau. Fortress Hill is a station that is in need of an external lift. There are currently arrangements being made with the government to begin a process of this nature. On the other hand, Tin Hau simply needs a lift for wheelchair access to the station with ease. Accessibility is the most important role of these additions to the community.
New Subways and Exits
MTR Corporation would like the benefits of their railway services to be reached by all people. With pedestrian subways and more exits in the existing stations, accessibility will increase. Most recently, in March 2021 the Austin Road Pedestrian Linkage System was completed.
Noise Mitigation Projects
Hong Kong is filled with high-rise buildings, luxury homes, and various other real estate properties. Because of the importance of using space and land wisely, there are stations and other MTR facilities near a lot of residential properties. The MTR Corporation has been installing noise barriers and enclosures along some of the rail lines in order to mitigate the noises and improve the atmosphere for those who reside near said railways. Some of the projects that are in progress are the Noise Enclosure at Ho Tung Lau Depot and the Noise Mitigation Works at Viaduct near Yuen Long. These new additions will raise the standard of living and reduce noise for the general public of Hong Kong.
New QR Code Payment Method
In January 2021, a new and innovative payment method was added to the MTR heavy rail network. This new service allows passengers to use a QR code as a payment method for their rides. With such ease, you can scan the code with your smartphone and purchase the service at the tap of your fingers. More about the process: Passengers can use the MTR Mobile or AlipayHK's EasyGo to tap the entry/exit gates with a "QR Code Ticket." The system is interoperable with e-wallets from other service providers, allowing users to pay for MTR rides using QR codes in the future. See the image below for the visual steps for using the QR Code system.
Adding Public Toilets
With added human traffic, the stations require more facilities to provide the passengers with a comfortable experience. There have been a lot of additions of toilets in various stations such as Mong Kok, Prince Edward, Admiralty, Yau Tong, Tiu Keng Leng, Central, Lai King, North Point and Yau Ma Tei stations. There is also construction continuing to happen with expectations of completion by 2022.
Integrated Speed and Position Monitoring System (iSPS)
Rigorous research, design, creation, and testing processes were completed by MTR engineers in order to produce the Integrated Speed and Positioning System, also known as iSPS. This new development was made by combining the commonly used GPS(global positioning system) and RFID(radio frequency identification) technology. The iSPS can track speed data as well as the position of LRVs in order to communicate data in real-time with the Light Rail Operations Control Centre. This can also let train captains know when their speed needs to be changed based on the speed limit of their geographical location. As of 2020, the system was put on trial within the entire Light Rail network. The MTR is continually looking for features to add to this technological asset.
The best travelling experiences are had when the transportation is safe and comfortable. With improvements in facilities and equipment in MTR trains, light rail vehicles and busses, passengers can have the best resources possible. Some recent major improvements have been the procurements of forty new light rail vehicles and ninety-three new 8-car trains. These additions are a massive help.
The weather in Hong Kong can get extremely hot in the summertime. The best feeling after being in the hot sun is to walk into a building that is equipped with air-conditioning. Most of the MTR stations have ventilation systems and air-conditioning within the building. This adds to the comfortable riding environment as was discussed previously. Some air-conditioning systems on the MTR network have been in operation since the station's commissioning and have not been changed. MTR is in the process of replacing 160 chiller units as part of a large-scale project. These brand-new replacements will also contribute to the corporation’s mission to save energy, with the replacements conserving energy by 20-30% once installed.