LCQ10: Luggage limits for railway passengers
The Conditions of Carriage of Luggage issued by the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) stipulate that each passenger travelling on the trains of the urban lines may carry one piece of luggage only, with dimensions not exceeding the specified limits. In November 2015, the MTRCL implemented a Trial Registration Scheme for Carriage of Oversized Musical Instruments (the Scheme) under which a passenger holding a permit issued by the MTRCL may carry one piece of large musical instrument with dimensions not exceeding relaxed limits while travelling on the trains of urban lines. The Scheme was regularised in March 2016, and its coverage was extended to sports equipment in August of the same year. On the other hand, there are restrictions on the weight of luggage carried by passengers travelling on the trains of the East Rail Line (ERL). In this connection, will the Government inform this Council if it knows:
(1) in each of the past three years, (i) the number of actions taken by the MTRCL to enforce the size or weight restrictions on luggage, and (ii) the respective numbers of persons who were given a verbal warning, given a written warning, prosecuted and convicted (and among such numbers, the respective numbers involving oversized musical instruments or sports equipment);
(2) the respective numbers of applications for registration of oversized musical instruments received, approved and rejected by the MTRCL since the launch of the Scheme in November 2015, with a breakdown of the rejected cases by the reason for the rejection and the type of musical instruments involved;
(3) the respective numbers of applications for registration of oversized sports equipment received, approved and rejected by the MTRCL since the Scheme's coverage was extended to sports equipment in August 2016, with a breakdown of the rejected cases by the reason for the rejection and the type of sports equipment involved;
(4) the details of the training and guidelines provided by the MTRCL for its frontline staff on the handling of cases of passengers' carrying oversized musical instruments or sports equipment; whether frontline staff may, under such guidelines, exercise discretion to allow passengers who have applied for but have not been issued a permit to carry oversized musical instruments or sports equipment;
(5) whether the MTRCL will consider improving the Scheme, such as relaxing the size restrictions on luggage, streamlining the application procedure, designating additional locations for collection of the permits; if the MTRCL will, of the details; if the MTRCL will not, the reasons for that; and
(6) given that there used to be a baggage car at the front and rear of ERL trains operated by the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation before the rail merger, whether the MTRCL will draw reference from such practice and designate parts of the trains for exclusive use by passengers carrying relatively bulky objects to avoid their causing inconvenience to other passengers; if the MTRCL will, of the details; if the MTRCL will not, the reasons for that?
My reply to the Hon Ma Fung-kwok's question is as follows:
To facilitate entry into the railway system of passengers carrying oversized musical instruments and sports equipment with dimensions exceeding the current permitted limits (Note 1), the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) regularised the MTR Registration Scheme for Carriage of Oversized Musical Instruments (the Scheme) on March 1, 2016, and extended the Scheme to include sports equipment on August 1 of the same year. The Scheme, formulated upon a prudent risk assessment of the safety of railway operations, allows a passenger holding a permit issued by the MTRCL to carry one large musical instrument or one piece of large sports equipment with dimensions not exceeding the relaxed limits (Note 2) while travelling on the trains of urban lines.
(1) The statistics on actions taken by the MTRCL in each of the past three years against passengers carrying luggage exceeding the size or weight limits are set out below:
|Written warning||8 388||7 542||3 791|
|Conviction by the Court||246||242||45|
The MTRCL does not maintain a breakdown of the above figures showing the respective numbers of cases involving oversized musical instruments and sports equipment.
(2) and (3) Since the launch of the Scheme, the MTRCL has received 6 389 applications involving oversized musical instruments and sports equipment. Among these applications, only one was not considered on the grounds of incomplete information. Others were all approved.
(4) To ensure that front-line staff understand the Scheme and assist in its implementation, the MTRCL arranges suitable training for its staff and established practical guidelines on the handling of non-compliant passengers who carry oversized musical instruments or sports equipment without a permit. In general, the frontline staff will check on the case and give verbal advice in the first instance; and take appropriate actions, where warranted, including written warning and enforcement action, against those who do not heed the advice.
(5) and (6) Passengers who wish to carry a piece of oversized musical instrument or sports equipment exceeding the current limits on luggage dimensions may apply for a permit under the Scheme. To facilitate applicants, application forms can be obtained from specified MTR Customer Service Centres (Note 3) and application can be submitted on-line, in person or by mail. An applicant may collect his permit from the station of his choice (Note 4) seven working days after submitting the form or upon receiving an email notification that the permit is ready for collection. Details of the Scheme have been uploaded to the websites of the MTRCL. At present, the Scheme is running smoothly. The MTRCL will review the implementation of the Scheme from time to time.
According to the MTRCL, to ensure passenger safety, improve travelling environment and address changes in patronage, the conditions of luggage have been aligned for all railway lines with effect from January 1, 2009, and luggage handling services on East Rail Line have been cancelled to free up more space for providing safe, comfortable and efficient train services to the public. The MTRCL noted that with a daily average of over 5 million passenger trips being carried by the railway system, it is of paramount importance to ensure the safe, reliable and smooth operation of railway. Providing a baggage car or designating some part for exclusive use of passengers carrying oversized objects will restrict the flexible use of the limited space on trains, which will affect the overall efficiency of train service and the space available for passenger use. As such, the MTRCL does not have plans to change its existing practices.
Note 1: The total dimensions (length + width + height) do not exceed 170 cm and any one side does not exceed 130 cm.
Note 2: The total dimensions (length + width + height) of the musical instrument or sports equipment, including the case or bag, do not exceed 235 cm and any one side does not exceed 145 cm.
Note 3: Except Airport Express, Lo Wu, Lok Ma Chau, Racecourse, Disneyland Resort and Sunny Bay stations
Note 4: Customer Service Centres at Mei Foo Station, Olympic Station, Kowloon Tong Station, Tai Wo Station, Wan Chai Station and Yau Tong Station; as well as Concessionary Travel Office in Admiralty Station, Siu Hong Station and Tai Wai Station.
Ends/Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Issued at HKT 14:30
Issued at HKT 14:30