It’s funny, in the states I couldn’t imagine life without a car and here I can’t imagine having one. Sure, I miss listening to the radio, having that personal space and time alone and not having to worry about hauling everything with me literally on me. That backseat… what a gift. But, I hear the hassle of car ownership on the island outweigh the perks. And with all the public transportation options, I don’t really feel immobile… just weighed down.
Mid-Level Escalator: Hong Kong Island is dominated by steep, hilly terrain, which requires for some rather unusual methods of transportation up and down the steep slopes. Through the center of Hong Kong is one of my favorite methods, simply known as the escalator. Hong Kong has the world’s longest outdoor escalator traveling over 2,600 feet from start to finish and elevating over 440 feet (that’s the equivalent to going up 44 floors of a high-rise). If you know me, I’m sure you’re thinking Ken isn’t great with things that move, especially things that move Ken! However, when I have the opportunity to be mobile without effort- I’m all over that! While traveling up the escalator you’ll pass over some of my favorite areas of the city. Areas like Central (city center at waterfront), Noho (area north of Hollywood Rd.), Soho (area south of Hollywood Rd), and the Mid-Levels (at the top where the escalator ends).
- Total travel time from bottom to top takes 30 minutes
- Built in 1993
- 80,000 travelers daily
- Consist of 20 escalators and 3 moving sidewalks
- Runs daily downhill from 6am to 10am
- Runs daily uphill from 10:30 am to midnight
- You can exit and enter on each road it passes.
MTR (Mass Transit Railway): When I lived in Chicago I rode the Metra to get around. In Chicago the rails are above ground with windows, but the MTR runs underground with no outside views. When I lived in Causeway Bay, I could jump on the MTR just around the corner from my flat, ride into Central, go to the gym, grab a coffee at Starbucks, go under the harbor ending near my office and never go outside or see any views of the outdoors. Now, don’t get me wrong, not seeing the outdoors means you don’t feel the outdoors. Today, living in the Soho/Sheung Wan area, I rarely use the MTR. But I like knowing it’s always available.
There are 10 rail lines and hundreds of stops, but with the help of my iPhone app, I can plug in my current location, where I want to go and the app will guide me step by step. Although the MTR is very reliable, you never know what the crowd will be like until you’re right smack in the middle of it. The local people in HK have no concept of “personal space”. After now living here, I understand why… there’s no space!
- Opened in 1979
- 4.6 million travelers daily
- System includes 131 miles of rail
- 155 stations
- Over 4 million trips made daily