23rd March 2023 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong and mainland China have resumed cross-border transportation, and the West Kowloon Station of the Hong Kong high-speed rail has resumed operations since 15th January. Starting from 1st April, it will reopen long-distance trains and add new stations. Tickets went on sale this morning at 6am, and citizens can purchase tickets through the website, station ticket windows, and automatic ticket machines. More than a hundred passengers were seen queuing in front of the counter to buy tickets. Even the automatic ticket machines were in high demand. MTR staff said that the 1,500 daily quota for ticket pre-orders had been distributed, but many citizens criticised the chaotic arrangements. They had to wait for a long time even after taking the pre-order number and could not buy tickets. Some people were even seen taking multiple pre-order numbers, leaving others with nothing.
At around 10 am, there was a broadcast inside the West Kowloon Station announcing that the same-day pre-order tickets at the ticket window had been distributed, and it urged customers who did not have pre-order numbers to buy tickets online instead. Some citizens expressed dissatisfaction with the MTR’s arrangements and protested that the ticket buying instructions were not clear. Others who intended to go to Shanghai said that they had been waiting for more than three hours but still failed to buy tickets and would consider taking a plane instead.
Regarding the arrangement of additional train services, lawmaker Gary Zhang believes that the authorities need to recognise whether the demand for long-distance trains is short-term or long-term. He also believes that there is still room to increase the number of trains according to the design capacity of the high-speed rail. Regarding ticket sales procedures, he believes that passengers should be encouraged to purchase tickets online, and MTR should provide information on the remaining ticket quantities early.