Tuesday, September 12, 2006

HK land transport

Mass and public transport in Hongkong is so efficient that one can easily travel around the narrow-lane streets.

First, is the railways or what they call the MTR. This is the equivalent of Manila's MRT, only the Hongkong MTR is all over the region, and can take a passenger from one point to another at a very fast speed. If you want to try the MTR, I suggest you go to the central station where the coaches will take you even to the farthest place, including the border station in Lo Wu, which welcomes you to Shenzen, China.

Another feature of the MTR of Hongkong is their Airport Express. This feature provides a more convienient way coming to and from the highly acclaimed Hongkong International Airport. As a traveller, you can check-in your luggage through Airport Express at certain designated stations away from the airport. You don't have to go to the airport to check-in your luggage. The catch is, you need to take the MTR in going to the airport if you use the Airport Express check-in, which costs HK$100 (P650).
If you take the double-deck bus to the airport, it will cost you around HK$21 (P165) per passenger, including children. It is of course a longer trip to the airport (around 45 minutes from central), than the MTR. If you want to view Honkongand you are not in a hurry, take the bus.

Then there are the yellow double-decker busses which is the most common mode of land transport in and around the main coomercial districts, and even beyond.
The buses in Hongkong are very much unlike the public buses in Manila. Hongkong public busses are much cleaner, cooler and more convenient to ride on.
They follow the number system where the busses have their own numbers corresponding to designated bus stops.
In Manila, the buses race against each other and stop even in the middleof the road unmindful of other motorists. You don't see that in Hongkong. The explanation there, is of course, conomics, but that is another story.
Also notable are the lack of polluted smoke emitted from the mufflers of Hongkong public buses.
Aside from the double deck buses, there are the 16 seater mini buses that have their own specific routes.

The tram is the cheapest way to travel in the inner commercial streets in Hongkong. It costs only HK$2.00 (equivalent to around P15.) per ride regardless of distance. It is like a monorail in the middle of the street that stops at certain corners and station in the busy commercial district. It is open air, unlike the more expensive buses, which charges depending ont he distance.

The taxis in Hongkong are the red Toyota Crown Comfort. It seems that they were specifically ordered from Toyota because they are all alike.
You immediately notice it is very spacious at the back.
They are strict in Hongkong in terms of number of passengers allowed. They limit only five passegners per cab.
By the way, it is right-hand drive in Hongkong. The cabs are all automatic transmission.
The flagdown rate is HK$15 (around P90.00) But it takes a very long time before the meter starts ticking.
But once it begins to tick, at HK$1.40 (around P9.00), it ticks after just a few hundred meters.
Be aware, if the driver discovered your unfamiliarty of the place, you just might be in for a joyride. I'm speaking of experience.

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