MTR Corporation saw services on its East Rail Line disrupted twice on Thursday, with the first one leaving thousands of rush-hour passengers stranded.
At about 9:25 a.m., the railway operator announced that services on the line connecting Hung Hom and Lo Wu had to be suspended due to a fault in the signaling system, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The disruption triggered chaotic situations in stations along the line.
Although shuttle buses were immediately arranged to help the stranded passengers get to their destinations, some of those outside Fanling Station complained that they could not get on a bus after waiting more than an hour.
A total of 14 trains were stuck on the tracks in between stations, with many passengers stranded in rail cars. Some of them tried to open the doors by themselves and jumped off the cars.
Chaos at Lo Wu Station was particularly serious as hundreds of students who arrived from Shenzhen in the morning were stuck there.
The line resumed service at around 11:30 a.m. after system repair was completed, but Lo Wu Station was still reportedly packed with stranded passengers as of noon.
Francis Li Shing-kee, MTR head of operations, apologized for the service suspension and promised to conduct a thorough investigation at the end of the business day at midnight.
At 5:50 p.m., an East Rail Line train heading to Kowloon Tong from Tai Wai suffered mechanical problems and dim lights in its cars. About 800 passengers were arranged to take another train at the Kowloon Tong Station.
The Transport Department said it has asked the MTR to submit a report on Thursday’s service disruptions and promised to take follow-up actions, according to procedures.
Based on the fare adjustment mechanism that was reviewed last year, MTR may face a fine of up to HK$3 million for service suspension of more than two hours. The proceeds can be used for fare concessions next year.
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