MTR’s new chief vows to regain public confidence

May 07, 2019 15:24
New MTR Corp. chief executive Jacob Kam reveals his priorities during his first press conference as head of the rail operator on Monday. Photo: HKEJ

Jacob Kam Chak-pui, who has taken over as MTR Corp.’s chief executive for a three-year term since April 1, has promised to do his best to regain people’s trust in the rail operator, which has seen its image marred by a series of work flaws and accidents in the past year.

Facing media as MTR chief for the first time on Monday, Kam said he has set three priorities, the first one being rebuilding MTR’s reputation and regaining public confidence, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

He said the second is to continue providing safe, reliable and efficient rail services while the third is to ensure smooth operations of all businesses.

With regard to regaining people's trust, Kam said he will do three things, namely aggressively facing and solving existing difficulties, being open and transparent as much as possible in explaining incidents to the public, and listening humbly to the opinions expressed by the people.

He said MTR's supervision of its contractors for the Hung Hom Station extension under the Shatin-Central Link (SCL) rail project had “clearly been lacking”, RTHK reported.

The company will learn from the scandal involving work flaws in the construction of the problematic underground platforms at the station, the broadcaster quoted Kam as saying.

Asked when the SCL line will fully or partially open since it has been delayed by construction issues at the Hung Hom Station, Kam said the sooner, the better.

He said MTR is looking into the possibility of a partial opening of the SCL line, although it does not have a timeframe at the moment.

Also at the press conference, MTR commercial director Jeny Yeung Mei-chun unveiled several new smart mobility services.

Yeung said the company’s three mobile apps, which are used 1.2 million times a day on average, will be merged into one this year with more information to be added.

The enhanced app will be able to help MTR analyze passengers’ traveling habits so that they can be notified in advance about which elevators at which stations are being repaired. 

Customers will also be sent commercial coupons to encourage them to board the trains later to help MTR divert passenger traffic.

The app, according to Yeung, will also provide point-to-point traffic information so that passengers will know how to take connecting buses to get to their destinations as well receive an alert message to remind them to get off at a preset station or interchange.

She also said the QR code payment method is expected to be introduced by the middle of 2020, adding that MTR is also studying the feasibility of allowing passengers to pay their fares with credit cards.

MTR will look for ways to ease crowding during rush hours and its staff will start wearing newly designed uniforms from this winter, Yeung said.

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