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Friday, August 24, 2018, 09:39
XRL to link 44 destinations direct from Hong Kong
By Li Bingcun
Friday, August 24, 2018, 09:39 By Li Bingcun

This Aug 3, 2017 file photo shows the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL). (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

HONG KONG - The much-anticipated Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link will be launched on the morning of Sept 23 with direct trains to 44 destinations, the city’s Transport and Housing Bureau announced on Thursday.

Those include six short-haul destinations and 38 long-haul destinations, according to the bureau, or more than double the previously confirmed 18 destinations.

The XRL will operate 114 pairs of short-haul trains daily during peak seasons, including public holidays of Hong Kong and the mainland, summer holidays of July and August and the Chinese New Yew peak travel season

Among the newly added destinations, Guangmingcheng in Shenzhen and Qingsheng in Guangzhou were selected for their development potential, while some long-haul destinations were chosen due to their status as popular tourist spots, Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan told reporters.

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The XRL will operate 114 pairs of short-haul trains daily during peak seasons, including public holidays of Hong Kong and the mainland, summer holidays of July and August and the Chinese New Yew peak travel season. During the non-peak periods, 82 pairs will operate on weekends (Friday to Sunday), and 70 pairs on weekdays (Monday-Thursday).

A total of 13 pairs of direct long-haul trains will operate daily. 

The fare price of a second-class ticket to short-haul destinations will range 68 yuan (HK$78) to 215 yuan (HK$247). For long-haul destinations, such as Shanghai and Beijing, a second-class ticket will cost 1,008 yuan and 1,077 yuan, respectively.

All tickets will be priced in renminbi. Their corresponding price in Hong Kong dollars will be adjusted on a monthly basis subject to fluctuations in the exchange rate, according to the fare adjustment mechanism.

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According to the MTR Corporation, special tickets will also be offered for XRL passengers, similar to practices of the China Railway Corporation, the sole railway operator on the Chinese mainland.

They include a half-price ticket which will be available for children under 150cm tall. Another special ticket will be offered to benefit Hong Kong students studying on the mainland.

According to a supplemental agreement signed by MTRC and the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, which is wholly owned by the Hong Kong government, KCRC will grant MTRC a 10-year concession to operate the XRL.

MTRC will make payments to KCRC based on XRL passenger numbers. According to Chan, the 10-year concession will cost MTRC more than HK$2.7 billion, based on a conservative passenger forecast.

The related parties agreed on special arrangements to be enacted in the event passenger numbers deviate considerably from the projection. If passenger numbers are more than 15 percent lower than projected, KCRC will bear 70 percent of the cost. If the numbers exceed 15 percent of the projection, MTRC will pay 70 percent of the overage to KCRC.


bingcun@chinadailyhk.com 

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