THE MTR (港鐵) plans to launch a special registration system that will allow musicians to carry large instruments on to its trains during off-peak hours from next month.
However, the company’s operations director, Jacob Kam Chakpui (金澤培), stressed there will be a limit on the size to ensure the safety of other passengers.
Kam said public consultation on the size restrictions on personal objects ended last Tuesday.
Of the 552 submissions received by 5pm, 234 involved musical instruments, with half in favour of having a registration or exemption system for instruments larger than the existing size restrictions; 30 percent suggested relaxing the regulations; and 20 percent opted for current restrictions or even tighter limits.
Passengers under the scheme will still be restricted to conditions, including travel at non-peak hours. Super-large instruments such as the double bass, harp and grand piano are still not allowed, he said.
He emphasised the MTR’s safety considerations to maintain clear passageways for the large number of passengers, avoid obstruction caused by oversized luggage that might hamper an emergency evacuation, and balance the risk of long objects conducting electricity from high-voltage overhead lines.
Kam said details of the scheme will be decided after discussions with the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (機電工程署) and comprehensive plans would be announced this month.
He said the current conditions of carriage of luggage allowed most musical instruments.
He said instruments such as the cello, which slightly exceeded the 130-centimetre length restriction, would be allowed under the scheme, but the guzheng (古箏) might not be allowed.
In response to suggestions that the MTR was being unfair and selective when handling cases of oversized luggage, Kam said that of the more than 9,000 passengers with oversized luggage asked to leave MTR stations, only four had musical instruments.
(The Standard, Jane Cheung, 14 October 2015)
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