Hong Kong has a very impressive and convenient public transportation system. It is so convenient that you don’t need to bother to rent a car to get around. You easily can travel from one side of Hong Kong to another within an hour.
Currently, the Mass Transit Railway or in short MTR is the choice of transportation in Hong Kong, serving the need of transportation of on average 3.7 million people every day. In 2007, the MTR merged with the Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR) and covers more than 174.7km of tracks and 82 stations in 9 different lines.
For an overview and your convenience here is a list of the 9 different MTR lines:
1. Dark Blue ISLAND LINE (connecting Sheung Wan to Chai Wan on Hong Kong Island)
2. Red TSUEN WAN LINE (connecting Central on Hong Kong Island to the heart of Kowloon Tsuen Wan)
3. Light Purple TSUEN KWAN O LINE (connecting North Point on Hong Kong Island to Tsuen Kwan O with branches to LOHAS Park and Po Lam)
4. Orange TUNG CHUNG LINE (connecting Hong Kong station on Hong Kong Island to Tung Chung on Lantau Island)
5. Green KWUN TUNG LINE (connecting Yau Ma Tei to Kowloon’s eastern part Tiu Keng Leng)
6. Light Blue EAST RAIL LINE (aka the former EAST KCR Line, connecting Hung Hom with the New Territories in the north and terminates at the mainland border stations Lo Wu or Lok Ma Chau)
7. Brown MA ON SHAN LINE (aka the former EAST KCR Line, connecting Tai Wai with the eastern part of the New Territories and terminates at Wu Kai Sha)
8. Dark Purple WEST RAIL LINE (aka the former WEST KCR Line, connecting Hung Hom with the western part of the New Territories and terminates in Tuen Mun)
9. Pink DISNEYLAND RESORT LINE (connecting Tung Chung with the Disneyland Resort Station with special designed Mickey Mouse MTR Trains).
Furthermore, the MTR Corporation operates two more lines:
The yellow LIGHT RAIL (connecting the western parts of the New Territories with the dark purple WEST RAIL LINE in Yuen Long, Tin Shui Wai, Siu Hong and Tuen Mun)
The ocean green AIRPORT EXPTRESS LINE (connecting the airport/Asia World-Expo with the Hong Kong station on Hong Kong Island).
Locals often refer to the different colors and the terminus of a MTR line when asked for directions. So it’s not bad to keep some of the lines and colors in mind. Click the link to download an overview of the transportation system.
If you are a proud owner of an iPhone or Android phone, you also can download the MTR Applications to search for hotpots and attractions on your way.
Transferring between different lines is usually quite fast and simply. Most stations are so designed that you basically just need to walk a few steps and cross the platform.
When you travel with the MTR you will be surprised how fast, efficient, safe and reliable this public transportation system is. Usually, you don’t need to wait more than 5 minutes until the next train arrives and in peak hours the frequency of MTR incoming trains is within one minute or even less. So…there is no need to worry or panic if you miss a train…the next one will be there shortly.
The stations and trains are very well maintained and spotless clean. You literally could eat from the floor. I get many questions from visitors about the safety of public transportations. You don’t need to worry. All stations are very well illuminated and lit and each station has several staff members on the platform you can easily approach in case you get lost, lost something or simply can ask for assistance in any other case of emergency.
Furthermore, I found the announcement that by the end of 2010, the 10 busiest MTR stations will be equipped with roughly 40 portable live saving defibrillators quite noteworthy, adding another aspect of safety and traveling.
Insider Tips: The MTR Corporation provides in several stations free internet access (iCenter) through terminals in the concourse. A very nice service in case you get lost or want to check e-mails. Besides, passengers can also enjoy free Wi-Fi service within iCenter 15 mins per session (max. 5 sessions per day). The terminals are usually located within the paid area and can be found in the following stations:
Hong Kong Station/Central Station/Causeway Bay/Admiralty Station/Wan Chai Station/Quarry Bay/Tai Koo Station/Prince Edward Station/MongKok Station/Tsuen Wan Station/Kowloon Tong/Kowloon Bay/Sham Shui Po Station/Kwai Fong Station