Transportation in Hong Kong

The main islands Hong Kong Island and Lantau are both connected to the Kowloon peninsula with bridges and tunnels, both for road and rail traffic. As public transport is well-developed, the rate of car ownership is fairly low.

Most mass and local transit takes advantage of the Octopus card for fare collection. The city is accessible by an efficient MTR subway system, buses, light buses, electric tram and taxi cabs.

Escalators and moving sidewalks
Hong Kong Island is dominated by steep, hilly terrain, which makes it the home of some rather unusual methods of transport up and down the slopes. In the Central and Western district there is an extensive system of escalators and moving sidewalks. The Midlevels Escalator is the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world, operating downhill in the morning for commuters going to work, and working uphill the rest of the time.

The whole system is 800 meters long, the vertical climb is 135 meters. Total travel time is 20 minutes, but most people walk while the system moves to shorten the travel time. Due to its vertical climb, the same distance is equivalent to several miles of zigzagging roads if travelled by car. It consists of 20 escalators and 3 moving sidewalks. Daily traffic exceeds 35000 people. It has been operating since 1993. It cost HK$ 240 million (around US $30 million) to build.

Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) – 2 lines plus light rail
-East Rail: total 34 km, standard gauge (1.435-m gauge), all electrified. 13 stations connecting Lo Wu to Hung Hom.
-West Rail: total 30.5 km, 9 stations connecting Tuen Mun to Nam Cheong.
-Light Rail Transit: Light railway system totalling 36.15 km. 68 stations serving the northwest New Territories.
-Several extensions planned and under construction, including Ma On Shan Rail, Lok Ma Chau Spur line, Tsim Sha Tsui Extension, Kowloon Southern Link, and Sha Tin to Central Link.

Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTR) – 6 lines, 50 stations
-Kwun Tong Line: between Yau Ma Tei and Tiu Keng Leng
-Tsuen Wan Line: between Tsuen Wan and Central
-Island Line: between Sheung Wan and Chai Wan – on Hong Kong Island
-Tseung Kwan O Line: between Po Lam and North Point
-Tung Chung Line: between Tung Chung and Hong Kong station (Central)
-Airport Express: between the Airport and Hong Kong station (Central)

Hong Kong Tramways – double-decker trams, operating in northern Hong Kong Island from Kennedy Town to Shaukeiwan.

Peak Tram – a cable car on rails with 5 stations, connecting Central and the Victoria Peak.

total: 1,831 km
paved: 1,831 km
unpaved: 0 km (1997)

Bridges and Tunnels
There are 12 vehicular tunnels in Hong Kong. They include 3 cross-harbor tunnels and 9 road tunnels. The cross-harbor tunnels are: Cross-Harbour Tunnel (opened 1972), Eastern Harbour Crossing (1989), Western Harbour Crossing (1997). They connect Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula across Victoria Harbour.

Bridges include:
Tsing Ma Bridge, part of the Lantau Link
Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (in project)

Five companies operate franchised public bus services in Hong Kong:

Citybus Limited
New World First Bus Services Limited
Kowloon Motor Bus Company (1933) Limited (KMB)
Long Win Bus Company Limited
New Lantao Bus Company (1973) Limited
There are also a variety of non-franchised public buses services, including feeder bus services to railway stations operated by the railway companies, and residents’ services for residential estates (particularly those in the New Territories).

Mini buses
Many minibuses (red roof) and maxicabs (green roof) typically serve areas less accessible by buses.

Mini buses only hold 16 passengers without any standing space. They are slightly more expensive than buses but run much more frequently and take a more direct route than buses.

Taxis of different colours serve different areas:

Red: Hong Kong Island and Kowloon (“urban area”)
Green: New Territories
Blue: Lantau Island
As of 2003, there are 18,138 taxis in Hong Kong, of which 15,250 are urban taxis, 2,838 are NT taxis and 50 are Lantau taxis. Everyday they serve about 1.1 million, 207,900 and 1,400 people respectively.

Private cars
There are 517,000 vehicles with license in Hong Kong, including 64% private cars.

Merchant marine:
total: 271 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 7,942,646 GRT/13,101,275 DWT
ships by type: barge carrier 1, bulk 157, cargo 28, chemical tanker 5, combination bulk 2, container 53, liquified gas 5, multi-functional large load carrier 2, petroleum tanker 14, short-sea passenger 1, vehicle carrier 3 (1999 est.)
note: a flag of convenience registry; includes ships from 13 countries among which are UK 16, South Africa 3, China 9, Japan 6, Bermuda 2, Germany 3, Canada 2, Cyprus 1, Belgium 1, and Norway 1 (1998 est.)


Within Hong Kong
Most of the ferry services are provided by licensed ferry operators. As of September 2003, there were 27 regular licensed passenger ferry services operated by 11 licensees, serving outlying islands, new towns and inner-Victoria Harbour. The two routes operated by the Star Ferry are franchised (vs. licensed). Additionally, 78 “kaito” ferry services are licensed to serve remote coastal settlements.

In 2002, ferry passengers amounted to 55 million.

The following companies operate ferries in Hong Kong:

The Star Ferry:
Central to Tsim Sha Tsui
Wanchai to Tsim Sha Tsui
Central to Hung Hom
Wan Chai to Hung Hom
The First Ferry:
Central to Cheung Chau / Mui Wo (Lantau Island) / Peng Chau
Tsim Sha Tsui – Mui Wo – Cheung Chau (weekends only)
Peng Chau – Mui Wo – Chi Ma Wan (Lantau) – Cheung Chau
North Point to Hung Hom / Kowloon City
Hong Kong & Kowloon Ferry:
Lamma Island to Central / Aberdeen / Pak Kok Tsuen
HKR International Limited:
Discovery Bay to Central
Discovery Bay to Mui Wo
Central to Tsim Sha Tsui (East)
Park Island Transport Company Ltd.:
Ma Wan to Central
Ma Wan to Tsuen Wan

Between Hong Kong and other places
A ferry service by hydrofoil between Hong Kong and Macau is available 24 hours a day, every day. Gamblers from Hong Kong often take a one-day excursion to that city.

The following companies operate ferries to locations outside of Hong Kong:

Chu Kong Passenger Transport (CKS) connects Hong Kong to cities in Guangdong province, China, including Zhuhai (Jiuzhou), Zhongshan, Lianhua Shan, Jiangmen, Gongyi, Sanbu, Gaoming, Heshan, Humen, Nanhai, Shunde, Doumen, Zhaoqing.

3 (1999 est.)
Airports – with paved runways:
total: 3
over 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (1999 est.)

Kai Tak International Airport was famous, but it was retired as an airport in favor of “Chek Lap Kok International Airport”, which is another name for Hong Kong International Airport. The latter now serves as the region’s main gateway.

2 (1999 est.)

One heliport is located in the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal, by the Shun Tak Centre, in Sheung Wan, on Hong Kong Island
Another is located in Admiralty, next to the CITIC Tower
East Asia Airlines operates a regular helicopter service between Macau Ferry Terminal and Shun Tak Centre. There are around 16 daily helicopter round-trips. Flights take approximately 20 minutes in the eight-seat aircraft.

There are also a number of helipads across the territory, including:

Roof of the Peninsula Hotel – the only rooftop helipad in the territory, excluding the rooftop heliport of Shun Tak Centre
Cheung Chau island, between Tung Wan Beach and Kwun Yam Beach
Ping Chau

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