The 26 kilometer (16 mile) high-speed train link between Hong Kong and mainland China will return this weekend after being closed for nearly three years due to the pandemic. However, there are only 10,000 tickets available daily, 5,000 of which are one-way. On Thursday, a large crowd gathered at West Kowloon Station in Hong Kong to purchase the first tickets for the January 15 departure to the mainland.
As rail operators work to resume operations in time for the busy travel period surrounding the Lunar New Year, ticket sales have been modest. The line will see about 80 trains every day, cutting the trip from Hong Kong to Guangzhou on the mainland from two hours to only 47.
In order to travel to the mainland, more than 3,000 tickets were sold on Thursday, according to MTR Corporation, which runs the link’s Hong Kong operation.
Two important transit hubs for onward travel to other Chinese provinces, Shenzhen North and Guangzhou South, will be served by high-speed trains departing from West Kowloon. Additionally, a new stop at Guangzhou East has been added.
He is a Hong Kong resident. She resides in Shenzhen, China, right across the border. Before the pandemic, Aaron Leung and Eleanor Liao often on dates to each other’s cities. They learned where they could meet since they were desperate to see one other.
According to Lam Sai-hung, the Secretary for Transport and Logistics in Hong Kong, efforts are being made by the local administration to simplify the immigration and customs processes.
“We’ll examine how the rail services are run. Next, we’ll consider the demand and determine how to issue a daily rise in the number of tickets “Lam stated to journalists on Thursday.
Only 16 first class seats were still available for Sunday, according to China’s ticketing booking app 12306; during the Lunar New Year travel season, which runs from January 15 to 21, there were only roughly a dozen spaces each train per day.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, the once-bustling borders between Hong Kong and the mainland have been largely closed, putting a significant strain on families and businesses with ties to both sides.
Now that people are returning to a Lunar New Year custom of celebrating with family, a travel boom is anticipated. Hong Kong had a daily cap of 60,000 visitors arriving from the mainland through seven additional border crossings before the high-speed link was reopened.
But as of now, fewer than 6,000 individuals in that category have been daily arrivals, according to government statistics. In its first four days of reopening, the city has seen a total of slightly less than 21,600 visitors from mainland China, according to figures from the immigration department.
The West Kowloon Station’s formal opening in 2018 was overshadowed by a contentious shared checkpoint arrangement that gives mainland authorities control over a portion of the terminal. The legal foundation of the agreement has been a topic of intense controversy because detractors claim it violates Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous status, which was granted to the former British colony when it was transferred to China in 1997.