How Hong Kong Built the World’s Best Transit 🇭🇰

How Hong Kong Built the World’s Best Transit This video is sponsored by Brilliant. The first 200 to use the link in the description
get 20% off the annual subscription. On any given weekday, 5.9 million people take
Hong Kong’s public transportation. Of them, 5.894 million, or 99.9% arrive on
time. It’s so efficient, so clean and so convenient
that virtually everyone uses it. If the U.S., with 800 cars per one thousand
people, has a car culture, Hong Kong, with only 92, has a culture of
public transit. With the exception of the outlying islands,
there’s an easy way to get almost anywhere in the territory… On Hong Kong Island, the iconic and only fully
double-decker tram system in the world costs just 2.3 Hong Kong Dollars, or 30 US Cents. Nearby, the Peak Tram takes you to the most
spectacular view of the city in just 7 minutes – a steep 370-meter, or 12,000-foot ascent
that would otherwise take a full hour. You can cross over to Kowloon on the relaxing
120-year old Star Ferry. And when you leave Hong Kong, there’s no
need to take your bags to the Airport. You can drop them in the city, then shop,
eat, explore, and they’ll automatically be sent to the airport, loaded onto your plane,
and be there waiting for you wherever you arrive. There are busses, cable-cars, helicopters,
and the longest outdoor covered escalator in the world. Finally, the 12-line, 93-station Mass Transit
Railway, or M-T-R, is responsible for moving most of the city’s seven and a half million
people. A special Mickey Mouse themed line goes to
Disneyland, another to the racehorse on event days, and yet another crosses over into mainland
China. It’s no wonder more people take the MTR
every single day than the entire population of Norway or Singapore. But unlike nearly every other place in the
world, Hong Kong’s public transit pays for itself. It’s so profitable that it actually subsidizes
the government – not the other way around. And its unique business model is an unexpected
window into the city’s ongoing protests. In most cities around the world, transit is
seen as a public good. Like building roads or minting coins, busses
and trains are not expected to be profitable. And while it’s economically useful to get
people to and from where they can make and spend money, there’s less incentive to make
it clean, quick or comfortable. The problem is, especially in America, users
of public transit are disproportionately young and poor. Which is to say, not politically useful. In Tucson, Arizona, for example, every third
rider of public transportation is in poverty, compared to 13% in the general population. Because of this, it’s treated like social
welfare – mostly for the poor and subsidized by everyone. The simple way to measure how much money is
a system loses is to calculate its Farebox Recovery Ratio – that is, the total amount
made from rides divided by the cost to run it. The lowest, meaning least profitable cities
are almost all in the U.S.: Detroit is 20%, Dallas is 14, and Santa Clara County is 10! In other words, tickets only pay for one-tenth
of its expenses. The other 90% is subsidized, reluctantly,
by local, state, and federal governments. An example of a high ratio is San Francisco’s
Bay Area Rapid Transit, at 70% – about the same as Berlin, Beijing, or Amsterdam. But then there’s Hong Kong’s MTR. Fares pay for 185% of its operating expenses,
the highest in the world. In 2017, it generated 21.4 Billion Hong Kong
Dollars of profit. And yet, somehow, it’s still extremely affordable. To get from one side of Hong Kong Island to
the other – from Chai Wan to Kennedy town – costs just 10.7 HKD or 1.3 US Dollars. To go all the way from the border with mainland
China to Central is 50.5, or 6.4 US Dollars. It’s about half that for children, students,
the elderly, and disabled. There are some obvious reasons Hong Kong has
such a big transportation advantage. First, as one of the densest places on earth,
with, for example, 57,250 people per square kilometer, or 22,104 per square mile in the
Kwun Tong district. Second, its infrastructure is relatively young. The London Underground opened in 1863, the
New York City Subway in 1904, and Hong Kong’s MTR in 1979. But there’s another secret ingredient to
its success. The MTR is so profitable despite being so
affordable by selling to businesses its biggest asset: access to the 90% of Hong Kong’s
population that takes the train. The MTR’s real product is its ability to
almost unilaterally decide where Hong Kongers go. Here’s how it works: First, before construction takes place, the
Hong Kong SAR government grants the company development rights around new stations. The MTR pays for the land, but at “greenfield”
prices – meaning, its value before the station is built. Then, it builds the new line or station, which,
because of the MTR’s ubiquity, instantly makes the land in and around it much more
valuable. Finally, it sells or leases that space to
property developers. Over 1,400 shops are leased inside stations, and the areas above and around them are often
partly-owned by or in a profit-sharing agreement with the MTR. This includes the first and second tallest
buildings in Hong Kong, the Four Seasons Hotel, the Ritz Carlton, and about 50 others. It also attaches MTR-branded malls to popular
stations. There’s even a 50-high rise, 21,000 apartment,
MTR neighborhood called LOHAS park. Because of this, it’s quite possible to
unknowingly spend your entire day – sleeping, eating, shopping, watching a film – without
technically leaving public transit. It’s called the Rail + Property strategy
and, predictably, it’s very profitable. In 2018, the company made 8.2 billion HKD
from transit operations – meaning fares – but 12.7 from property development, rent, and
commercial business. It then gives some of this money back, as
stock dividends, to the government – who owns 75% of the company. By not relying on government funding, the
MTR can maintain and grow its operations quickly, as an efficient, market-based company. The government, meanwhile, sees transit not
as an insatiable money pit but an important source of income that it’s actively incentivized
to improve. For example, the MTR is legally required to
report any delay longer than 8 minutes to the government. And a 31-minute delay results in a 1 million
HKD fine. Trains are quiet and clean – with a strict
no eating or drinking policy. They arrive so often that there is no need
for a timetable. The Octopus card makes paying as easy as a
single tap – and it also works in convenience stores, supermarkets, restaurants, vending
machines, laundry machines, even parking meters. Finally, 75% of the population lives within
one kilometer of a station. As great as it is, though, there is a catch. Looking at a map, Hong Kong looks like a tiny
place for 7.5 million people. But, behind the rows of skyscrapers, visible
from almost anywhere in the territory, are luscious, green, undeveloped mountains. Hong Kong is very dense, but the problem isn’t
a lack of space, Almost three-quarters of its land is green
space. Only 25% is even developed and a tiny 7% is
residential. Of course, some of this land is mountainous
and simply can’t be developed but a significant portion sits un-used or under-used. For example, the sprawling 420-acre Fanling
golf course is surrounded by rows of cramped 40-floor residential buildings. There’s a simple economic reason housing
is in such short supply. To attract businesses, Hong Kong has one of
the lowest income tax rates in the world. Instead, it makes money from land leases. Aside from St. John’s Cathedral in Central
which is privately owned by the Church of England, and a few 999-year leases like the
US Consulate, all land in Hong Kong is government owned and leased – usually for 50 years. 27% of government revenue comes from land
sales, which means it has little economic reason to flood the market with more supply,
despite the intense need. Instead, it constrains supply by slowly auctioning
off land while housing prices continue to skyrocket. A tiny 200 square foot studio may cost 4 or
5 million HKD or 600,000 US dollars. The median annual salary is worth about 12
square feet. In this way, the MTR corporation and the government,
with their perverse incentives to restrict land rights and drive up prices, are, in part
responsible for a housing crisis in which Hong Kongers live in tiny, dirty homes sometimes
about the size of coffins. Thus, one way or another, Hong Kongers pay
for their world-class public transit. Not only in the form of inaccessible housing
but also in the control they inadvertently grant the MTR, and, by extension, the government,
in deciding where and when they can travel. While fast, cheap, and efficient transit has
enabled millions of Hong Kongers to fight for their freedom, it has more recently become
a tool to hinder them. Stations in and around protests are regularly
closed during the weekends, effectively cutting off most of the population from arriving and
conveniently pinning the blame on protestors for the interruptions. It’s a cautionary tale about how indisputably-good
technology can easily be co-opted in the wrong hands. The solution, though, is better technology. When government forces spy on the apps protestors
use to communicate, the solution is to build a better, more secure and encrypted system. To protect against facial recognition, we
need to better understand how their neural networks and machine learning algorithms work. And those high level skills, in addition to many introductory lessons you can start learning today with Brilliant. This course will take you from the very basics
of how computers learn, develop your intuition for why these models work, and build up to
more modern techniques like adversarial models. In addition to actively learning through solving
fun puzzles, you can also interact with these ideas as you apply them. You can use the link in the description to
start learning for free, and the first 200 people will get 20% off the annual premium
subscription, so you can view all Daily Challenges and unlock dozens of problem-solving courses. Thanks to Brilliant and to you for watching
this video.

  1. The so called rail+property strategy is quite popular in Asia, especially in countries such as Korea, Japan in comparison to European countries…

  2. In the 31 st August ,2019 in Prince Edward MTR station , some police hit the protester, and the innocent citizen, they get injured and arrested by the police

  3. >Calls other users being paid by the Chinese government
    >Gets paid by pan-democratic parties
    >Gets paid by the National Endowment for Democracy

  4. It was the greatest transit until brainwashed rioters decided to control everyone's freedom by destroying and vandalizing the MTR. Don't even get me started on the bullshit 831 scandal. Fuck off, if anything the rioters were the ones beating up elderly and destroying ticket machine. Evidence is everywhere from SCMP, CGTN, recorded clips and even Instagram. Fuck those creatures.

  5. 6:55 "There is a strict no eating policy."
    People eat on trains anyways without any consequences as long as they keep everything clean and tidy.

  6. No, not anymore:


  7. Despite the recent political criticism toward the Hong Kong MTR, what the video mentioned as the success of the MTR, actually caused even more social problems toward the Hong Kong society than the benefit generated by itself, as compared with many other train system mentioned in the video.
    What the video described the Hong Kong MTR generated 2/3 of the revenue from the property right, and actually it is one factor that caused the such high land price in Hong Kong. What the video not mentioned was that, some of the cost of building the MTR system in Hong Kong was actually by the government, not by the MTR itself, and hence financially the MTR looks good but actually it is not.

  8. It is clean because you're not allowed to eat or drink within the transit system and there are no toilets. There is also a fine if you're caught doing so.

  9. Don’t you think uploading this video at this moment is a bit hypocritical? MTR is currently in a scandal for covering up the police’s murders in Prince Edward station on 31 August

  10. Is it only me bothered by putting the TFL logo above the American continent, but then putting the New York transit above Europe ?

  11. This shows the disadvantage of a monopoly😭The mtr company now close the station whenever they want. Police shot tear gas inside Kwai Fong station, mtr company didn't think it's a problem, but the passenger are pissed with that. They demand police and mtr to respond in kwai fong station, and mtr close the station directly🙂 There are more those ridiculous stuff happened, like Yuen Long triads rushed into train and beat people indiscriminately, while the mtr train door kept opening. Mtr closed Prince Edward station for more than 24 hrs after Police rushed into the station beating citizens they doubt that they are protesters, but not arresting them.
    Hong Kong citizens are now raising campaigns for anti-mtr in daily life.

  12. it makes me wonder, where all this state revenue goes to… let's say if china wanted to improve the daily life of the average HK citizen, they would first have to sort out the corruption and silent billionaires who profit from the current system. the first thing china would have to do in order to establish that, would be something like… an extradition law…… oh but wait…. everyone is against the extradition bill…. because of the mistrust towards mainland china, which they recall from HK newspapers like Apple Daily, owned by major capitalists like Jimmy Lai… but nooooo.. that's like crazy.

  13. Getting Land for cheap from the People is nothing but subsidiesd. Its Capitalism doesn't work without stealing people's land, work and freedom

  14. New York has the best transit system in the world. Mumbai has the best transit system in South Asia, which is the most populous region in the world. Hong Kong has the best transit system in Asia. Dubai has the best transit system in the Middle East. Sydney has the best transit system in Oceania. Sao Paulo has the best transit system in South America. Johannesburg has the best transit system in Africa. London has the best transit system in Europe. I think I have covered the whole world. Cheers!

  15. Best Transit systems in the world:

    1. New York City, United States of America
    2. Hong Kong, China
    3. London, United Kingdom
    4. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    5. Beijing, China
    6. Chicago, United States of America
    7. Shanghai, China
    8. Mumbai, India
    9. Toronto, Canada
    10. Singapore City, Singapore

  16. Sometimes, people just want the price of everything to go down, and expect the income of government comes from empty so that the government can pay for the daily activity.

  17. 6:53…Cries in DSB in Denmark. Jesus, imagine if we had just 1/10th of this in my country…And they say Denmark is rich…heheh.

  18. Really appreciate your video!! As a HongKonger I could say that all the information and analysis shown in the video are sooo accurate (I live in Lohas Park and all the footages are correct!!). Can't imagine it to be so updated especially in illustrating how MTR has limited the movement of people during protests.
    Thank you and please may the world stand with us while we fight for our freedom!

  19. I've travelled to 30 countries and Hong Kong had the EASIEST transit system to understand out of all the metro cities. Unreal. Need to go back 🙌🏾

  20. I don't think Germany is a good example. It's heavily funded by the government, its really expensive and often times, there are many delays.

  21. Meanwhile, the Koch brothers that is still alive continues to screw with public transit in the US because he invest heavily on oil.

  22. HK MTR is a transit system that allows Police to enter and beat citizen to death and not having the guts to admit it.


    google that shit.

  23. 2 Lines in 1982 Line 1 East West on Hong Kong Island Line 2 Hong Kong Island to Kowloon. Railway company runs train in Kowloon 2 lines. 1988 MTR 4 Lines.

    The Old Airport in Closed 1998. in 2018 Train station to Mainland China.

  24. Lol I think us maintains the worst public transport system. Even Delhi metro is very efficient (won't say it's the best but it's at least in top 20)

  25. HK public transit is so good that Apple TV made a program about how terrible people had to commute living in New Territory. It interview ed a lady. She had to leave her home at 730am so she can get to work by 9am. She took one train n 2 subway.
    By this time, I was ready to leave the comment n ask her phone number, so I can call her to shut up n stop complaining. She is living in paradise, n she was complaining about her commute. One Londoner told her to come to London. London does have good public transportation.
    I live in LA. People drive don't get that kind of nice commute.
    Taking public transit in La, 90 min commute is considered lucky.
    That lady did faraway from center of HK.
    Since HK public transit is so good, her commute was considered hell.
    I need to go back to finish watching that program, so I can curse that, commute nightmare in HK

  26. People of Hongkong, many overseas Chinese are quite willing to sacrifice you to the butchers of Beijing. Not talking agents of CCP but established residents who gloat over Chinese expansion. Greater support for your good cause among Whites than the majority of Chinese.

  27. No matter how efficient it may be, IMHO if a metro system can’t even protect its own passengers, then it is even worse than North Korea’s metro system.

  28. We Hong Kongers were very proud of our subway system, until the company gave in to help the police and thug trapping the protestors inside the station and train for beating. Shame on you, MTR.

  29. You didn't mention anything about the unions in HK, unions are one of the reasons the transit system in New York is so expensive.

  30. 2:29 Why can't you realize not only how incorrect you are being by calling the United States of America by the name of two entire continents, but principally how downright insulting you are being to every person from every other country in both North & South America?!? The example I always give is if South Africa were the U.S. of Africa. Would calling them alone "Africa" not be incredibly insulting to every other African? smh

  31. Why does Lantau keep getting the short end of the stick in the infographic bits? It's got 3 normal stations on the Tung Chung Line, the Airport Express runs through it, and it's got the Disneyland line.

  32. I live in Hong Kong and Paris metro sucks okay ( some not, but mainly are talking about older ones that seats get stolen and smells like pee and also have to use your bare hands to open doors) I would ride a baguette instead.

  33. amazing, subsidize the transit with business! hey, we are provided customers to this mall, time for you to share the profit with us.

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