A set of train doors was smashed out of a busy rush-hour MTR train this evening, causing widespread commuting chaos on the Island Line and around Causeway Bay.
According to reports from passengers, the doors flew off the train as it approached Causeway Bay station at around 6pm. Photos showed the window of one door smashed, the sliding door hanging down by the track, with shattered glass flung about.
Large crowds were seen around the station entrances, with many commuters deciding not to wait and head for alternative transport nearby. An SCMP journalist on the scene reported long queues for buses and “lots of police vehicles as well”.
Long queues for buses at Hennessy Road, lots of police vehicles as well pic.twitter.com/KAufkezKjV
— Rachel Yeo (@racporter) December 2, 2021
MTR suspended services between Wan Chai and Quarry Bay, while reducing service frequency on the rest of the line to four minutes. Over 90 shuttle buses were laid on, according to MTR.
The rail firm downplayed the incident, saying that “one set of offside train doors in the first train car was loosened and dislodged.”
Despite photos showing a smashed advertising hoarding and door, MTR said “there were scratch marks between an advertising panel in the tunnel and the pair of train doors concerned.”
“Our preliminary analysis is that the incident was caused by the displacement of the loosened part of the advertising panel which came into contact with the train doors,” said a spokesman.
Former Tuen Mun district councillor Michael Mo had already speculated the door had struck a fallen advertising frame, and that this was due to inadequate safety checks.
“The government is the largest shareholder of MTR Corp but Carrie Lam’s administration could not spot the problems of the [corporate] culture, which is largely eroded thanks to policies from previous administrations,” Mo told Transit Jam.
“The railroad as core public transport strategy effectively made a single-point-of-failure for the city’s commute system. We’ve experienced for so many times that train breakdowns would put the city into a halt. Too many lines/extension have been delayed… which should supposed to serve as redundancy. If there’s a Northern Island line now, the impact won’t be that chaotic,” he said.
A Delay Certificate sent by MTR to passengers on request showed the official length of the delay to be 2 hours and 52 minutes, which would trigger a HK$3 million fine for the rail operator. Such fines are paid into its concession fund which pays for a 3% concession per trip for Octopus passengers, a bonus which, by law, the operator must offer for at least six months of every year.