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April 10, 2004

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Eric Lien

My opinion/rant: the two endpoints of the Airport Express are well designed and convenient, and the transport fee for getting between them is reasonable given the high speed and station facilities (space, elevators, and waiting seats), none of which you get with an airport bus.

But the two intermediate stations are utterly useless to anyone not living right on top of them, and this makes the AEx irrelevant to most HK residents --- to get to or from them you have to take a taxi, a bus, or transfer subways three times. Narita Express is far better, at least by these standards (too bad the check in desks are up 3 escalators and very far away from the trains). Sure, it's 3x the cost, but then most stuff in Tokyo is 3x the cost of HK, and all the intermediate stations are major hubs which link directly to where most tourists, businessmen, AND regular people want to go.

If they had called me to design the AEx, I would have:
1) Replaced Tsing Yi station with one at Mei Foo, which is useful to people in Kowloon peninsula as well as ALL the western New Towns, not just one of them
2) Maybe added a station at Kowloon Tong, for people in East Kowloon, Tseung Kwan O, etc.
3) Replaced Kowloon station with one at Hung Hom, for people in northeast NT and those transferring to mainland trains, which replaces a station useful to no one except taxi drivers looking for fares, with a station useful to lots of people

This might have extended the trip time a bit, but I think it's reasonable in exchange for actually making the Airport Express useful to the majority of residents. Also, it would have required lots of extra digging and construction, but now, they're doing pretty much the same kind of digging anyway to support West Rail extension to Hung Hom, and later the Shatin to Central Link. Oh well ...

Chris

When the new airport opened we were living very close to Kai Tak, and you're right that the MTR connections to Tsing Yi aren't good from that direction. However, your suggested route is rather indirect!

I'd propose a link from Tsing Yi to the KCR East Rail (probably at Tai Wai) via an interchange with the KCR West Rail (maybe at Tsuen Wan West), thus making it more convenient for both the eastern and western New Territories. Probably never happen, though.

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