Rumble box: Bus vs MTR

Rumble box: Bus vs MTR

In this week's Rumble Box, Wong Yat-hei and Mabel Sieh are engaged in an argument about bus vs MTR.


A number of MTR lines are currently under construction, expanding the railway coverage around Hong Kong. But the MTR still cannot transport people to their exact destinations.

The MTR will never be as extensive as bus routes. Most locals take the train and then hop on a bus to get to their destination. I think this is not efficient at all. Besides, passengers need to walk up and down crowded stations, so why not just take a bus to exactly where you want to go in the first place?

I prefer travelling by bus because it is much more comfortable. Bus rides at non-peak hours are a dream. I can enjoy the view while sitting in a comfortable front-row seat. Nobody is going to push or shove their way to get to the exit, or worse, fight for a seat.

The MTR is also not very reliable. There have been long delays because of signal light failures or other problems. Sometimes entire lines have been shut down, with passengers trapped on trains for several hours. Things are especially bad during typhoons when thousands flock to train stations, putting the service under severe strain.

It's true that buses also break down. But, when that happens, passengers can simply get off and take another bus to get to their destination. On the MTR, they could be trapped underground with nowhere to go. When there is an MTR malfunction, most passengers turn to buses for help.

For these reasons, I would rather take a bus any time.

Wong Yat-hei


Whenever I go abroad, I truly realise how convenient our rail system is. It's clean, spacious and efficient. Relatives and friends who come to Hong Kong for a holiday say we are lucky to have such a fantastic transport system. I don't need to run to catch a train - as I mostly do when I'm taking the bus - because I know if I miss one train, there'll be another in about a minute or two. The MTR schedule is reliable and it helps especially when I am rushing to an interview in town.

Recently my sister, who lives in Canada, visited us. She was surprised - and delighted - to hear announcements which showed that the MTR cared about its passengers. It was a rainy day, and the rail operator reminded passengers to be careful of the slippery floor.

As for your idea of sitting comfortably and relaxing on a bus ... really? When was the last time you could sit on a cramped bus without people rushing past you when they need to get off?

Hong Kong is a crowded place and it will be packed no matter which kind of transportation you take. But I'd rather be in a clean, airy MTR compartment with multiple doors than on a bus.

Also, I am not sure if I want to sit even if there is an empty seat on a bus. The last time I was on a bus and there was an empty seat, somebody had spilled a drink on it and the floor was a big mess. On the contrary, there's hardly any rubbish inside an MTR station or a compartment; it will be difficult to find a piece of paper on the floor.

MTR staff are also very helpful. If you are sick and you want to use the bathroom, they will take you there. Just imagine what will happen if you are on a bus!

Mabel Sieh

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