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Playing one of the key roles in Hong Kong public transport, taxi provides a convenient personalized point-to-point transport service. At present there are 18138 taxis in Hong Kong, on which 15250 are urban taxis, 2838 are NT taxis and 50 are Lantau taxis. Everyday they serve about 1.1 million, 207900 and 1400 people respectively.

Urban taxis operate throughout Hong Kong (except Tung Chung Road and roads in south Lantau). NT taxis are fundamentally confined to rural areas in the New Territories, the airport and are permitted to serve certain locations in the urban area through specified routes. Lantau taxis operate only on Lantau Island.

Since 2000, a number of schemes were launched to improve taxi service quality. These included taxi driver award schemes, in which recognition was given to about 1000 drivers for their good performance; a self-learning Workplace English and Putonghua training programme distributed free of charge to enhance the proficiency of taxi drivers; and quarterly newsletters published to enhance communication between taxi operators and Government.

During the year, the department continues to lift relaxation on taxi's picking up and dropping off passengers in restricted zones to strenghthen their role in providing a personalized, point-to-point service. The law was also amended to permit the provision of drop-off points in restricted zones.

To encourage the conversion of diesel taxis into the clearner liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) taxis, a cash grant scheme was introduced. Each eligible taxi owner is entitled to a maximum of $40,000. The scheme has been going smoothly. LPG refilling capacity has increased substantially with the opening of many large dedicated LPG stations. Currently, there are a total of 44 LPG stations which provide gas re-filling service for all taxis.

The Mass Transit Railway (MTR) is an underground railway network with six lines and 50 stations. Operated by the MTR Corporation Limited, each line was built in stages with the first passenger train starting operation in late 1979. Tseung Kwan O Line came into service in August 2002. The total route length of Kwun Tong Line, Tsuen Wan Line, Island Line, Tseung Kwan O Line, Tung Chung Line and Airport Express is 87.7 kilometres. Single adult fares range from $4 to $26, and $60 to $100 for Airport Express.

The East Rail is 35.5 kilometres long and connects East Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon with Lo Wu. There are 14 intermediate stations, including one on a loop line at the Sha Tin Racecourse which mainly caters for race-day traffic.

The East Rail carries about 800,000 passengers daily. Octopus standard class fares range from $3.2 to $12 (excluding service to Racecourse) for local journeys and $18.8 to $34.8 for journeys to Lo Wu according to the distance travelled. In addition, twelve departures of through trains in each direction are operated daily between Kowloon and Guangdong cities. Through train services to and from Beijing and Shanghai are also operated on alternate days.

Ma On Shan Rail which is operated by the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation came into operation on December 21, 2004. It runs over a length of 11.4km and comprises 9 stations including Tai Wai, Che Kung Temple, Sha Tin Wai, City One, Shek Mun, Tai Shui Hang, Heng On, Ma On Shan and Wu Kai Sha. It takes about 16 minutes to travel from Wu Kai Sha to Tai Wai on Ma On Shan Rail and passengers could interchange to East Rail at Tai Wai Station.

Ma On Shan Rail faretable
(Note: Currency in Hong Kong dollar)

West Rail which is operated by the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation came into operation on December 20, 2003. It is a 30.5 kilometres twin-track passenger railway linking up Nam Cheong in West Kowloon with Yuen Long and Tuen Mun in the north-west New Territories. It has nine stations, namely Nam Cheong, Mei Foo, Tsuen Wan West, Kam Sheung Road, Yuen Long, Long Ping, Tin Shui Wai, Siu Hong and Tuen Mun. The system, on which it takes 30 minutes to complete the whole journey, is designed to interchange with the existing MTR and Light Rail systems. The West Rail train fleet consists of a total of 154 cars. Single adult fares range from $4.5 to $13.

West Rail faretable
(Note: Currency in Hong Kong dollar)

In September 1988, Phase One of the Light Rail Transit System owned and operated by the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, was opened in the north-west New Territories, serving Tuen Mun and Yuen Long new towns. Two Tuen Mun Extensions began operation in 1991 and 1992 respectively. In 1995, the network was extended to Tin Shui Wai Terminus. With the opening of the new Tin Shui Wai Extension on December 7, 2003, the Light Rail network extends to 36.2 kilometres of double track, with 68 stops and a fleet of 119 single-deck light rail vehicles. The adult single fares range from $4.0 to $5.8. The system is supported by feeder bus services. On average, about 291,000 passengers travel daily in the system in 2003.

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