MTR deploys unprecedented number of ticket inspectors during fare evasion crackdown

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20th April 2024 – (Hong Kong) The MTR Corporation has recently deployed a strikingly large number of ticket inspectors across various Light Rail stations. Over the past few days, commuters at Tuen Mun, Siu Hong, San Wai, and On Ting stations witnessed an unusual sight: platforms crowded with dozens of staff in yellow uniforms, outnumbering the passengers at times. This large-scale operation has sparked widespread discussion and concern among the public, with some criticising the approach as excessive.

The deployment, captured in photos and shared widely on social media, showed approximately 40 inspectors on each platform, a scale of operation not seen for decades. In response to queries from the media, MTR Corp. explained that this was part of a routine ticket-checking exercise carried out on April 18, aimed at minimising disruption to passengers while ensuring fare compliance.

This initiative comes in the wake of MTR’s announcement last June of increased penalties for fare evasion. Effective from 25th April, fines for ticketless travel on the Heavy Rail Network will rise from HK$500 to HK$1,000, with penalties on the Light Rail and MTR buses increasing from HK$290 to HK$370. The corporation has emphasized that paying the correct fare is every passenger’s responsibility, and that fare evasion not only violates MTR regulations but also places an unfair burden on law-abiding customers.

Furthermore, MTR has stated its commitment to enhancing ticket inspection and public education efforts. The Customer Service and Revenue Protection Unit is tasked with executing these duties, which include routine patrols and targeted operations based on trends in fare evasion and specific station analyses.

The public reaction has been mixed. While some online commentators question the efficiency of deploying such a large number of staff for ticket inspections, others argue that paying for travel is both fair and necessary. “Catching people without tickets might seem harsh, but everyone should pay their way,” one comment read. Another user pointed out, “Not paying for a ride is not only illegal but also highly disrespectful.”