24 October 2016
MTR will be 'helped' in enforcing its baggage rules by being alerted to all cases of oversized items, an online group says. Photos: Internet
MTR will be 'helped' in enforcing its baggage rules by being alerted to all cases of oversized items, an online group says. Photos: Internet

Social media group urges ‘ultra-cooperation’ with MTR on baggage

As a debate swirls around MTR Corporation’s handling of oversized baggage, a social media group has launched a campaign called “Ultra-cooperation with MTR“, urging citizens to actively report any rule violations and assist the rail firm’s staffers to enforce the luggage rule fairly on all passengers.

The “Ma On Shan People, Ma On Shan Issues” group had earlier accused Hong Kong’s commuter rail operator of enforcing its luggage rules selectively.

The rail firm prevents locals from bringing in big items, such as sports or musical equipment, on to the trains, but seems to turn a blind eye to mainland tourists and parallel traders who often carry much bulkier luggage, it was alleged.

Now the group has decided to “help” the company enforce the rules equally on all passengers, without discrimination. 

As part of the “ultra-cooperation” movement, the group has listed the telephone number of every MTR station along the East Rail line, urging citizens to phone and file a report to staffers at the next station in case they see any passenger coming along with oversized luggage.

The move came after media reports surfaced this week that staff at a rail station refused to allow a local school girl to carry a guzheng, a traditional Chinese musical instrument, onto a train, saying that it was beyond the permissible size. 

In an earlier incident, former professional snooker player Ivan Chan Kwok-ming was issued a warning letter by MTR in July for carrying a 1.6-meter long cue stick on a local train.

As such news spread on social media, the rail operator has faced a lot of criticism, with the staffers accused of double standard and enforcing the rules selectively. 

Following the latest incident involving the school girl with the musical instrument, some Hong Kong media outlets had their reporters conduct luggage experiments at various MTR stations.

An Apple Daily reporter carried a bag similar in size to that which the school girl had attempted to take on board on Tuesday.

While the uniformed school girl had been barred by MTR staff at Tai Wai that station, the Apple Daily reporter however had no difficulty entering stations at Ngau Tau Kok, Kowloon Tong and Che Kung Temple stations and getting on board trains.

However, at the Tai Wai station an MTR staffer came forward and stopped the reporter in order to take a measurement of her baggage. She was then asked to leave the station premises as it was found that the bag was more than 130 centimeters in length.

Satirical website TV Most news also conducted a test at the Tai Wai station. A person acted like a parallel trader and pretended to be helping a school girl — who was actually a reporter — carry a large guitar by hiding it inside a stack of cardboard boxes on a trolley. 

They drew the attention of an MTR staffer quickly. However, instead of being sent away, they were assisted by the staffer to the platform and helped onto a train.

MTR comes under fire again over ‘oversized’ luggage (Sept. 16, 2015)

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