A screen grab of the video showing a passenger K.O. a peer with his backpack. Photo:MTR/Youtube
A screen grab of the video showing a passenger K.O. a peer with his backpack. Photo:MTR/Youtube

Bags down or you might KO passengers: MTR warns

Subway operator draws online criticism after labeling inconsiderate commuters with backpacks – the reversing car, the whirlwind, the boxer or the immovable obstacle. Which one are you?

March 7, 2017 9:24 PM (UTC+8)

First it was large luggage, then it was oversized musical instruments and now it is the deadly” backpack or kung-fu fighters. The MTR Corp is attracting heated social media comments over its latest online campaign.

A 60-second video posted online five days ago, entitled The 4 Types of Backpack Fighters, show common situations that may inconvenience passengers, the train company said on its website.

In the clip, passengers wearing backpacks are presented as:

1) inconsiderate drivers ignoring their surroundings and bumping into whoever is behind them when reversing;

2) a whirlwind bumping other people as they turn left or right;

3) a boxer or a kung-fu fighter throwing a punch that may KO a commuter as they try to get something out of their bags;

4) or an immovable obstacle blocking the path of other passengers who may want to pass.

The clip then advises passengers to be considerate by putting their backpacks on the floor after entering a carriage.

The video became a trending online topic after local bloggers spread the word about it on Monday night. The post drew about 3,000 reactions by Tuesday afternoon, with 1,900 angry emoticons. 

Overloaded carriages are a common problem during rush-hour on Hong Kong’s only underground rail system. Some lines can run on 104% of their designed capacity, according to the MTR Corp’s filing to the city’s legislature.

Parallel traders, people who buy goods tax-free in Hong Kong to resell on the mainland for profit, are a constant source of ire for many on trains in the city’s northern border area. The bulky goods are often packed in large luggage or boxes, which occupy seats and space.

Many netizens criticized the MTR for shifting the responsibility of tackling overcrowded trains on to passengers, instead of taking action to deal with the root cause and is now developing into a public relations crisis.

Read: Hong Kong’s generational divide 

“Many people with backpacks often only hurt others accidentally. Why [does the video] need to name and shame them?” one person said in an online comment.  Another said: “The video has far exaggerated the situation.”  

MTR Corp chairman Frederik Ma Si-hang told local media that the video only intended to appeal for passengers to be more considerate and didn’t want to cause an unpleasant experience for commuters.

But when is rush-hour ever a pleasant experience?

 

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