2013-05-14   Noise pollution and the MTR

A Hong Kong government website has the words: "As Hong Kong's economy has grown in recent decades, so too has the noise that comes from transport, construction, commercial and industrial sources in this compact, densely populated city. If left unchecked, this sort of noise can lead to mental stress and hearing loss, and also can interfere with daily activities."

When I get the MTR and hear all the announcements I think about noise pollution. As soon as I enter an MTR station there are continuous notices about not giving to beggars or buying from hawkers, not eating in the paid area, and my favourite: a slippery floor caused by heavy rain (even when the floor is not slippery and there is no rain).

Then inside an MTR carriage there's almost a competition by train drivers to see how many times they can play the three-language "mind the doors" message. Often this is played after the doors have shut. If the "beep beep beep" sound is not enough to make people aware of the closing door, maybe a set of lights around the door could be used, as is done in some other countries.

The MTR's route maps inside each carriage are excellent and passengers know from the flashing lights what the next station is. There's no need to announce station names. I wish the MTR could make all trains like the ones that run on the "KCR" line. They have very few announcements and just a "beep beep beep" for closing doors.