LCQ7: Ticketing arrangements for Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link
It has been reported that the Mainland railway authorities have enhanced and adjusted the high-speed rail ticketing system and the automatic ticketing machines (ATMs) installed at the 200-odd stations along the high-speed rail routes, thus enabling Hong Kong and Macao residents to buy and pick up tickets by swiping their Hong Kong and Macao Residents Entry and Exit Permits (commonly known as home return cards) through the ATMs, and obviating the need for them to spend time on queuing up for counter services for ticketing matters. Some Hong Kong residents have relayed that the ticketing system's performance is unstable, and therefore they often fail to buy and pick up tickets through the ATMs. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) whether it will discuss with the Mainland railway authorities ways to ensure that, upon the commissioning of the Hong Kong Section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) in the third quarter of this year, ATMs compatible with home return cards will be provided in all of the stations where XRL trains departing from the West Kowloon Station will make terminal and intermediate stops; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
(2) whether it knows the number of high-speed rail stations which are currently provided with ATMs compatible with home return cards as well as the name of those stations; whether the Mainland railway authorities will install more of such machines; if so, of the number, and set out the installation timetable by name of station;
(3) given that at present, Mainland residents may take the high-speed trains without holding physical tickets, by directly tapping the ticket gates with their second-generation resident identity cards, whether the Government has discussed with the Mainland railway authorities the feasibility of taking the high-speed trains by tapping the ticket gates with home return cards; and
(4) whether it will set up a joint working group with the Mainland railway authorities to discuss ways to upgrade the functions of the ticketing system of the high-speed rail and enhance its stability, so as to make it more convenient for Hong Kong residents to buy tickets; if so, of the details (including the work plan and timetable); if not, the reasons for that?
My consolidated reply to the Hon Yiu Si-wing's question is as follows:
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government and the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) have formed numerous working groups with the Mainland high-speed rail operator to discuss and examine operational matters that need to be coordinated with the Mainland side, including ticketing arrangements, for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link. Such work has been ongoing.
According to the present plan, passengers may, by producing their Hong Kong and Macao Residents Entry and Exit Permits (i.e. Home Visit Permits), buy and collect tickets for high-speed trains that start or terminate at West Kowloon Station through the ticketing system of Hong Kong, including ticketing website, ticketing hotline, ticketing counters and automatic ticket vending and issuing machines at West Kowloon Station, as well as designated agencies in Hong Kong.
As to how Hong Kong residents may buy or collect tickets at West Kowloon Station for high-speed trains that start and terminate at Mainland stations, and buy and collect tickets for high-speed trains at Mainland stations, the HKSAR Government and the MTRCL are actively discussing with the Mainland high-speed rail operator on the relevant arrangements. According to the latest initial understanding from the Mainland high-speed rail operator, a number of high-speed rail stations on the Mainland are currently adjusting their ticketing systems and automatic vending and issuing equipment so as to facilitate the travel of Hong Kong and Macao residents on the Mainland by means of high-speed rail. The operator has also advised that automatic ticket vending and issuing service for Hong Kong and Macao residents would be progressively extended to more stations. The HKSAR Government will continue to liaise closely with the relevant authorities on this matter, and strive for more facilitation arrangements for passengers.
When the above ticketing arrangements have actual progress, the HKSAR Government and the MTRCL will make announcements in a timely manner.
Ends/Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Issued at HKT 14:30
Issued at HKT 14:30