The long-awaited rail service between Admiralty and Southern district will begin operating at the end of the year, although a specific opening date is still to be set, MTR Corporation chairman Frederick Ma Si-hang said on Thursday.
The confirmation comes after technical problems at Admiralty station were overcome, MTRCL chairman Frederick Ma Si-hang said yesterday.
Ma did not specify the exact opening date but sources expect the line to start operating in the final week of the year.
This came after MTRCL repeatedly warned that there were risks in launching the line on schedule due to packed construction work at Admiralty station.
The HK$16.9 billion line, which connects Admiralty to the Southern District, is expected to carry 170,000 passengers daily with trains operating every three minutes during rush hours, according to MTRCL statistics.
A trip between Admiralty and Ocean Park will take about four minutes.
It will take just 11 minutes to travel the entire seven-kilometer South Island Line with stations at Ocean Park, Wong Chuk Hang, Lei Tung and South Horizons.
New platform and interchange concourse are already completed.
Ma said serious technical problems involving construction work at Admiralty station have been overcome and he confident the line will open by the year-end after getting the go-ahead from the government.
He added that construction costs are within budget. MTRCL projects director Philco Wong Nai-keung said construction of the line is complete and the testing process has nearly finished.
MTRCL said additional staff members will be deployed at station platforms along the new line for crowd control during rush hours. Ticket prices will be announced later, but the adult fare from Admiralty to Ocean Park is expected to be HK$5.20, according to government data – half of HK$10.60 fare on bus route 629.
The line, which began construction in 2011, was originally scheduled to be operational by last December but the opening has been postponed twice. Last month, that company said the line could be delayed for another three months until early next year.
Three-carriage trains each with a carrying capacity of about 700 passengers will operate on the line.
Lawmaker and former chairman of the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation Michael Tien Puk-sun is worried about overcrowding in Admiralty, an interchange station to the Tsuen Wan line, and the Sha Tin to Central link which is expected to operate by 2021 as passengers converge on the line on the same platform.
Passengers currently have to wait two or three trains at Admiralty before they can board.
A South Horizons resident, surnamed Leung, who takes the bus to work in Fortress Hill, said he has long-anticipated the news and would “definitely” switch to the MTR as it would allow better time management by avoiding traffic congestion at the Aberdeen Tunnel.
Meanwhile, 11 bus routes are expected to be canceled when the line opens.
Southern District councillor Chai Man-mon said the cancellation of some bus services, including routes 71 and 78, in the district might inconvenience the elderly.