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Tickets for trains on Hong Kong’s new high-speed rail line to mainland China will be available for sale from Monday through online platforms, a telephone hotline and counters at the West Kowloon terminal, the operator said on Friday.
MTR Corporation operations director Adi Lau Tin-shing said counter sales would kick off from 8am, with buyers allowed to purchase up to eight tickets per person when presenting valid original identification from the passengers. This includes home return permits and passports.
Online and telephone sales will begin at noon.
However, travellers will only be able to book seats a maximum of 10 days ahead.
“Don’t worry about not being able to buy tickets, there are many available,” Lau said. “We want to ensure those who come to queue up are those who will use the service.”
He said between 40 and 60 per cent of tickets would be on sale in Hong Kong, and the rest on the mainland.
There will be 95 trains running on September 23 – the day the line officially opens – departing between 7am and 5.18pm, Lau said.
The first train from the West Kowloon station will leave at 7am for Shenzhen North, followed by one to Chaoshan at 7.23am. The inaugural train to Guangzhou South is due to leave at 8.30am.
The telephone hotline for tickets is +852 2120 0888, and for inquiries +852 2106 3888. Tickets can also be bought online via the MTR’s website.
On Monday commuters will be required to enter the West Kowloon terminal from Austin MTR station exit D2, as large parts of the facility are not yet in use.
MTR Corp commercial director Jeny Yeung Mei-chun said luggage exceeding 130cm when length, height and width were combined, or weighing more than 20kg, would not be permitted to travel together with passengers, and would have to be sent through a delivery company.
Four more ‘hidden’ spaces in express rail terminus revealed“As it involves customs clearance at different checkpoints, baggage will definitely not be delivered until the next day at the earliest,” Yeung said. “We are in talks with the baggage delivery contractor to see if it can speed up the process.”
Tickets will also be available through state-owned China Railway Corporation’s official 12306.cn platform, or through its app, but only for users with mainland phone numbers.
The 26km Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link has been plagued by a three-year delay. At a cost of HK$84.4 billion (US$10.8 billion), it is over its original budget by a third.
One-way tickets to six short-haul destinations, including Shenzhen and Guangzhou, will cost between HK$78 and HK$247, while journeys to farther destinations, such as Beijing and Shanghai, will cost between HK$216 and HK$1,239.
Travellers will be able to take a 48-minute, 142km journey to Guangzhou South, before connecting to the 25,000km national rail network operated by China Railway Corporation.
Only three of the 30 daily return trains run directly between West Kowloon and Guangzhou South. The indirect trains can take up to 71 minutes.
During peak periods such as public holidays, about 58 return trains will operate daily between West Kowloon and Futian. They account for more than half of the 114 return trains for the link’s six short-haul destinations: Shenzhen North, Futian, Guangming, Humen, Qingsheng and Guangzhou South.
This article first appeared on www.scmp.com
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