Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has said that he was “a fan of railway services without any reservations” at the opening ceremony of the South Island Line (East) on Monday.
“Since the railway is not only fast and reliable, but also environmentally friendly and comfortable, it is the ideal type of public transport. Therefore, I am very excited to witness the launch of the Kwun Tong Line extension and South Island Line (East), which make Hong Kong’s railway network more comprehensive,” he said.
Leung added that the commencement of the new MTR line is “something that everyone has been looking forward to,” as it will offer convenience to residents of the southern district when the Aberdeen Tunnel is congested.
Leung did not respond to media questions as he left.
The chair of MTR Corporation Frederick Ma Si-hang said that although Leung will no longer be the Chief Executive next year, MTR staff will remember Leung’s contribution to railway development, including mentioning the opening of the MTR Academy during his policy address.
Before the ceremony began, members from the League of Social Democrats protested outside the soon-to-open Ocean Park station against rising MTR fares, and called on the government to buy back the metro company. Pro-democracy lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung was ejected from the room for shouting slogans during Ma’s speech.
The South Island Line connects Admiralty station to the southern part of Hong Kong Island, including Ocean Park, Wong Chuk Hang, Lei Tung and South Horizons, with an estimated 11 minutes of travel time between Admiralty and South Horizons.
Lawmaker Michael Tien Pak-sun said he was concerned that, as the station becomes busier, the waiting times for boarding already-crowded trains will become even longer during rush hour. He previously drew backlash after suggesting commuters should work late in order to avoid crowds.
The South Island Line is due to open next Wednesday.