【社评双语道】港铁应更新信号系统解决故障风险

2018-10-31 00:47:01  阅读 62 次 评论 0 条
■港铁故障后,月台迫满大量乘客。 资料图片
■港铁故障后,月台迫满大量乘客。 资料图片

  【原文】港铁于10月16日发生历年最严重故障,早上四条路线一起「档」,由于正值上班高峰,引发全城交通极度混乱,对市民造成极大不便。港铁近年故障频仍,市民怨声载道,信号系统老化相信是最主要原因。港铁必须尽快锁定故障原因,亡羊补牢,採取包括加快信号系统更新换代等切实措施。政府更需思考有序开放本港公共交通市场,引入适度竞争,促使港铁改善服务。

  当日港铁荃湾线、观塘线、港岛线、将军澳线相继出现问题,情况罕见。由于港铁佔全港公共交通载客量超过四成,港铁服务受阻,导致大量乘客被迫转乘其他交通工具,产生「火烧连环船」效应,巴士、的士,甚至港岛电车等服务都不胜负荷。整个上午,全港公共交通几乎瘫痪。

  港铁强调今次故障情况特别,是有关系统自上世纪90年代营运以来都未发生过,连维修手册亦无提及。故障的真正原因,要晚上收车后才能做详细调查。多条线路同时故障,反映港铁未能充分掌握运作情况,对可能出现的严重故障缺乏预见性,以致措手不及。

  港铁近年事故屡见不鲜,观乎各种故障原因,信号系统故障是最常见的「病因」,而且愈发「病入膏肓」。港铁多条线路运行多年,尤其是观塘线、荃湾线,信号系统早已老化,问题频生,但港铁更新信号系统进度缓慢,最迟的线路要到2026年才能完成更新,意味乘客未来几年仍要忍受频繁故障的痛苦。当日交通大瘫痪的情况可能随时会重演,公众绝对难以接受。

  港铁表示会对当日的故障成立委员会调查,但市民关心的不仅仅是一次事故,而是港铁故障不断的背后原因,究竟存在什幺深层的弊病,港铁有没有办法彻底解决。对此,港铁必须清晰向公众作出交代。

  港人依赖铁路的程度,远较其他城市高,港铁服务理应更可靠、更有效率,方可符合市民的期望。有竞争,才有进步。政府需要考虑加强针对港铁的竞争性措施,给市民提供更多选择,将因为港铁故障而造成香港交通瘫痪的机会减到最低。

  首先,铁路服务本身可由不同的营运商提供服务,观乎港铁在内地的北京、深圳、杭州,都有营运部分地铁线路,本港能否将部分港铁路线交由外地营运商来经营?有了多个服务提供者,可以通过学习、竞争,互相促进,有利改善港铁服务,市民也可以通过比较,看到港铁的服务是否有改善空间。其次是不同公共交通工具之间的竞争,给予巴士、小巴等服务更多市场空间,鼓励不同交通工具的良性竞争,受惠的是广大市民。

  港铁故障,一宗都嫌多。政府应当就港铁管理、本港公共交通政策作深入思考,準确定位,加强对港铁问责,切忌头痛医头、脚痛医脚。否则,类似故障恐怕会陆续有来。 (标题为编辑所加) (摘录自香港文汇报社评 17-10-2018)

  MTR should upgrade the signalling system to solve the risk of breakdowns

  【译文】An unprecedented MTR service disruption brought total chaos to the city's traffic on October 16. Commuters were left stranded as four rail lines broke down at the same time during the morning rush hour. The public have worn out of patience as MTR service breakdowns have become more and more frequent in recent years, with ageing signalling systems believed to be the main culprit. The MTR must identify the root cause as soon as possible, and take measures to hasten upgrading of the signalling systems, so as to rectify the current situation. At the same time, the government should consider to open up the local public transport market gradually, so that the MTR's service could be improved under competition.

  The scale of the October 16 transport incident is unprecedented, as the Tsuen Wan, Kwun Tong, Island and Tseung Kwan O lines, all broke down nearly at the same time. Accounting for over 40 per cent of Hong Kong's public transport patronage, the MTR is the largest passenger carrying mode in Hong Kong. The MTR service breakdown has forced a substantial number of commuters to suddenly switch to other means of transport, thus causing a chain effect which also brought down bus, taxi and even tram services. Traffic in Hong Kong was well-nigh paralysed on October 16 morning.

  The MTR has stressed that the service disruption was so rare and unprecedented that they have never encountered this situation since it came into operation in 1990s, and that even its design and maintenance handbook has not mentioned such a scenario. In-depth investigation for the root-cause did not begin until the end of MTR service hours. The simultaneous breakdown of major rail lines revealed that the MTR did not have full grasp on its operations, and exposed the railway giant's lack of awareness and preparation for major service emergencies.

  Service disruptions have become increasingly frequent over recent years, and of all the causes, signalling system failure is the most aggravated and common one. Many of the MTR lines have been in operation for years, especially the Kwun Tong Line and Tsuen Wan Line. Their signalling systems have long been ageing and are very susceptible to failures.

  However, the pace of the MTR's signalling system upgrade remains slow, and the last rail line's upgrade will not be completed until 2026. In the coming few years, passengers will still have to endure the pain and frustration brought by frequent breakdowns. The utter chaos on that day could come back to haunt us at any time, and the public cannot accept this.

  The MTR said that it would set up a panel to investigate the incident, yet the public is concerned not only with a single incident. The public demand an answer to the frequent breakdowns. What are the underlying causes? Is the MTR capable of resolving the problems once and for all? The MTR must deliver a clear explanation.

  To meet the public's expectations, MTR services should have been more reliable and efficient, given that Hong Kong is so much more dependent on its railway networks than other cities. Considering that competition stimulates innovation and progress, the government should introduce measures to bring more choices to commuters. By doing so, the likelihood of a paralysed traffic due to MTR breakdowns could also be minimised.

  First, railway services are not bound to be provided by the same operator. Considering how the MTR Corporation operates subway services in Beijing, Shenzhen and Hangzhou, is it possible to let foreign operators run some of Hong Kong's rail lines? With another service provider to learn from and compete against, the MTR would be prompted to step up the quality of its service.

  At the same time, any room for improvement in MTR services would become more apparent to the public's eye through comparison. Second, the MTR's competition with other modes of public transport should be encouraged. By opening up market space for buses and minibuses, commuters could benefit from the healthy competition created between different transport means.

  MTR breakdowns must not be tolerated. The government should review the current public transport policies and step up supervision on the MTR. Superficial measures must be avoided. Otherwise, similar incidents may come one after another.■Jeffrey Tse (ywc_jeffrey@hotmail.com)

  Exercise

  1. 营运商

  2. 根本原因

  3. 连锁效应

  4. 几乎

  5. 通勤者

  Answer

  1. operator

  2. root cause

  3. chain effect

  4. well-nigh

  5. commuter

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