September 10, 2013
The Unique Genius of Hong Kong’s Public Transportation System

New Yorkers are famous for complaining about the city’s subway: despite an ever-increasing rise in fares, service never seems to get any better. And even still, ticket-sales still only funds part of the New York City subway system; the city still relies on supplementary taxes and government grants to keep trains running, as fares only cover about 45 percent of the day-to-day operating costs. Capital costs (system expansions, upgrades, and repairs) are an entirely different question, and require more state and federal grants as well as capital market bonds. And New York’s system is not unique: as in other cities, New York struggles to pay existing expenses and must go into debt to pay for upgrades, that is, without raising prices.
Is this problem intractable? Not exactly. Take Hong Kong for example: The Mass Transit Railway (MTR) Corporation, which manages the subway and bus systems on Hong Kong Island and, since 2006, in the northern part of Kowloon, is considered the gold standard for transit management worldwide. In 2012, the MTR produced revenue of 36 billion Hong Kong Dollars (about U.S $5 billion)—turning a profit of $2 billion in the process. Most impressively, the farebox recovery ratio (the percentage of operational costs covered by fares) for the system was 185 percent, the world’s highest. Worldwide, these numbers are practically unheard of—the next highest urban ratio, Singapore, is a mere 125 percent.
Read more. [Image: Paul Yeung/Reuters]

The Unique Genius of Hong Kong’s Public Transportation System

New Yorkers are famous for complaining about the city’s subway: despite an ever-increasing rise in fares, service never seems to get any better. And even still, ticket-sales still only funds part of the New York City subway system; the city still relies on supplementary taxes and government grants to keep trains running, as fares only cover about 45 percent of the day-to-day operating costs. Capital costs (system expansions, upgrades, and repairs) are an entirely different question, and require more state and federal grants as well as capital market bonds. And New York’s system is not unique: as in other cities, New York struggles to pay existing expenses and must go into debt to pay for upgrades, that is, without raising prices.

Is this problem intractable? Not exactly. Take Hong Kong for example: The Mass Transit Railway (MTR) Corporation, which manages the subway and bus systems on Hong Kong Island and, since 2006, in the northern part of Kowloon, is considered the gold standard for transit management worldwide. In 2012, the MTR produced revenue of 36 billion Hong Kong Dollars (about U.S $5 billion)—turning a profit of $2 billion in the process. Most impressively, the farebox recovery ratio (the percentage of operational costs covered by fares) for the system was 185 percent, the world’s highest. Worldwide, these numbers are practically unheard of—the next highest urban ratio, Singapore, is a mere 125 percent.

Read more. [Image: Paul Yeung/Reuters]

  1. williamjh reblogged this from theatlantic
  2. mmanal reblogged this from theatlantic
  3. mistrunner reblogged this from catedrals
  4. catedrals reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    I have serious feelings about the Hong Kong MTR because American mass transit can’t hold a candle to the sheer...
  5. flee2thecleve reblogged this from aleonrivera
  6. mojojovi reblogged this from botherjoseph
  7. idonothavealife reblogged this from botherjoseph
  8. botherjoseph reblogged this from theatlantic
  9. bronxbanter reblogged this from theatlantic
  10. tr0tskitty reblogged this from theatlantic
  11. nikkidixon reblogged this from theatlantic
  12. kinryuzan-raimon reblogged this from theatlantic
  13. catyuy reblogged this from innypocket
  14. quickasacricket reblogged this from innypocket
  15. innypocket reblogged this from yourenotaloneinthis
  16. yourenotaloneinthis reblogged this from theatlantic
  17. ernobius reblogged this from ukridge
  18. sama-el reblogged this from theatlantic
  19. risewiththefall reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    Well now I want to visit Hong Kong.