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Free rides this Sunday on public transport offer chance to see more of HK

16 December 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

You can take the MTR for free to anywhere - except the airport

Here’s a rare chance for the wanderlusts among Hong Kong residents, especially migrant workers, to see more of the city. 

Rides on the MTR, trams and buses will be free this Sunday, Dec 19, as the government said it wanted to allow more Hong Kong people to vote in the 2021 Legislative Council elections set to be held on the same day.

The free rides are applicable to domestic MTR services, including Light Rail and MTR Bus, but excluding the Airport Express.


MTR Corp said that as its rides are free, the interchange discount for MTR and designated green minibus routes, as well as kaito ferry and the MTR Park & Ride scheme, will not apply on that day.

First-class coaches on MTR trains that travel all the way to Lowu and Lok Ma Chau on the border with the Mainland are also open to anyone, as passengers will be able to get in and out of trains without presenting a ticket.

On Hong Kong Island, all tram rides will be free.


Passengers will also enjoy free rides on franchised bus routes of the Kowloon Motor Bus Co, New World First Bus Services, Citybus, Long Win Bus Co and New Lantao Bus Co.

The exclusions are “A” and “NA” routes to the airport, “B” routes to ports of entry, sightseeing bus “H” routes, overnight bus “N” routes, new long-haul services “P” routes, and several southern Lantau routes.

Free tram rides may not be as popular this time around, given the number of choices that are available

Executive Councillor Ronny Tong described the free rides as unprecedented.


“Never before has any administration tried this, but knowing that the coming election may well have the lowest turnout rate in history because of the non-participation of the pan-democratic camp, I think it's a good idea to allow people to come out and vote, and allow more people particularly elderly people to have a chance to come out and vote,” Tong said.

“I think anything which can help to make it more convenient for people to vote would be a good thing in any event,” he added.

A political analyst from Chinese University, however, doubted whether the arrangements would encourage more people to vote.


“I think most of the polling stations are within walking distance, and I think most of the voters do not need any kind of public transportation to go to the polling stations,” said Ma Ngok. He said people may have other plans on that day.

“It would encourage people to go out and leave their homes to take advantage of the subsidy. And then it may actually mean that more people are away from their homes and away from the polling stations,” he said. 

For the legion for foreign domestic workers who mostly take their holiday on Sunday, this is one great opportunity for them to travel as far as they can around Hong Kong without feeling the pinch.

Pindutin para sa detalye

The MTR expects more people at railway stations due to the free rides and says it will closely monitor train services on that day and implement appropriate operational measures to meet passenger demand.

“We appeal to passengers to remain courteous during their MTR travel, pay attention to signage at stations and allow sufficient time for their journeys,” the company said.

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