Much that Singapore can learn from Hong Kong

I was amazed by Hong Kong during my visit to the city recently. I can understand why it is host to some of the best practices in the world, going beyond train management.

First, passengers on the escalators stood on the right side, and allowed fast-moving passengers to overtake on the left.

From a safety point of view, this makes a lot of sense, because the majority of people are right-handed and should be able to hold firmly on to the escalator railing with their stronger hand.

Second, even though I had insufficient balance in my three-year-old Octopus card, I was still able to exit at my destination. When I went to the customer service centre, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a refund of the deposit on the card.

Third, when I applied for a senior citizen concession Octopus card, all I needed was my passport. The card was available for anyone above the age of 65, regardless of nationality, and was issued immediately.

Fourth, while at the Hong Kong airport to catch my flight back to Singapore, I was pleasantly surprised that it was easy to connect to the free Wi-Fi. There was no need for an additional password authentication, sent via SMS, like in Changi Airport.

If Singapore wants to be at the forefront of tourism and train service, it is about time we relook the way we operate our train and airport services, and make them easy and hassle-free for all.

Munir Shah