From next month, travelers in MTR trains will be allowed to convey one “oversized” sports equipment, This includes a hockey stick, fishing road or a bicycle with a permit.
This scheme was made permanent by the MTR Corporation in March after a four-month trial, but the company did not permit for large sports equipment to be travelled with, a move which was criticized by the sporting community.
Allen Ding Ka-chun, operations manager for the East Rail Line, said that “from August 1, commuters who have registered as permit holders will be allowed to carry one piece of sporting equipment with a length of up to 145cm and a combined length, width and height of up to 235cm.”
This same dimensions will also apply to musical instruments, and as with instruments the permit is not applicable between 8.15am and 9.15am from Monday to Friday.
Ding said sporting equipment also needed to comply with MTR by-laws.
“We will also consider whether the equipment poses a threat to the safety of passengers. For example, we will look at whether the item has a sharp side. This applies to all items regardless of size,” Ding said.
All the travelers with equipment less than 130 cm length and a combined length, width and height not in excess of 170cm will not require a permit.
He said that “In revising the scheme, the MTR had consulted representatives from the sports industry and placed safety as their primary consideration.”
And added that “existing holders would not need to renew their permits or apply again as the permits would be extended to sports equipment automatically.”
Most equipment falls within the restrictions, including a standard set of golf clubs and certain fishing rods, hockey sticks and even bicycles after dismantling, he said.
But Fred Man, a fishing enthusiast, said “A dismantled fishing rod would still have two sections exceeding 145cm. The arrangement by the MTR was “unfair” and that most anglers carried fishing rods in a bag, which was safe, and he had not witnessed passenger complaints.”
Chan Kwok-ming, a coach with the Billiard Sports Control Council, welcomed the move.
“Most standard snooker cues are 144.8cm,” he said. “I am happy the MTR is willing to take this step and some snooker fans can benefit.”