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If you live in Hong Kong, you know that the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) is the city’s primary public transportation. The first rail line of the MTR opened in 1979. Although it’s managed by the MTR Corporation, the Hong Kong government owns most of the company, holding over 75% of its shares. So, of course, the MTR is a source of pride in Hong Kong. Well, according to a new study, it’s also the top transit system in the world.
Despite having millions of passengers daily, the MTR is still so convenient and efficient that it can bring you almost anywhere in the city with spotless connections. In fact, it boasts a 99.9% punctuality rate. And it’s pretty impressive that the MTR is air-conditioned and so clean (forget your typical pee smell, like in many major railways). MTR Corporation has done an excellent job with Hong Kong’s railway system, so it’s no surprise that it also operates networks in places like mainland China, Macau, London, Sweden and Melbourne.
A new study by the Oliver Wyman Forum and the University of California Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies evaluated the public transit system in 60 cities worldwide, ranking each on factors from affordability to commuting speeds to operating hours and distance. Hong Kong’s MTR ranks the highest among the top five, followed by Zurich, Stockholm, Singapore and Helsinki, for its affordable fares, rare delays in services and for supporting itself financially.
“They have either large green zones or large car-free zones, or just make it very expensive to drive personal vehicles in the city. And this helps,” said Andreas Nienhaus, a partner at Oliver Wyman.
“We work really close with MTR – it’s a big thing for London and we are into collaborative working, and we certainly didn’t want to take the spotlight off them,” said a spokesperson for Transport for London on MTR Corporation operating The Elizabeth Line in London.
“Hong Kong tops our inaugural Public Transit sub-index. Its affordable transport network has high station density and a strong rail network for the city’s large population. It’s a popular mode of transit among commuters, despite the fact that it isn’t available 24/7, like in some cities. But Hong Kong has room for improvement. It lags in autonomous transit and lacks smartphone apps to seamlessly navigate its multimodal network,” wrote the Oliver Wyman Forum.