Lift lobbies and miniature paid areas at MTR stations

On such a busy rail network as the Hong Kong MTR, it isn’t just the operation of trains that has to be optimised – the passenger flows inside the station have to be kept separated in order to avoid crowds and congestion.

Escalators from concourse to platform level at Jordan station

Each station have a clear line between the ‘paid’ and ‘unpaid’ sections of the concourse, and at busy stations separate inbound and outbound ticket gates are provided, keeping the conflicting passenger flows apart, while also making it easy for passenger on either side to access the customer service desk.

Station concourse at Chai Wan

However one curious arrangement I noticed at a handful of stations was a single set of ticket gates leading to a lift.

Single set of ticket gates in place to control access to the platform lift

I first noticed it at Admiralty station, where these is an interchange between the Island and Tsuen Wan lines.

Lift-only ticket barriers at Admiralty station

And I found a second example at Kowloon station, which is served by the Airport Express and Tung Chung lines.

Lift-only ticket barriers at Kowloon station

In both cases, it appears that including the vertical lift shaft inside the paid area while also allowing for passenger circulation in the public part of the station wasn’t achievable, so a second set of ticket gates had to be installed for passengers who use the lift.

I just hope that any passengers using the lift don’t run into any trouble with using their Octopus card, as help is a long way away!


I’ve written before about how the disabled can access Hong Kong’s MTR network, so you might know that many of the early MTR stations have required the retrofitting of lift access to them. Admiralty station falls into this category, but Kowloon station is interesting – lifts were included in the original design, so the reason for unusual concourse layout is still unclear.

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6 Responses to Lift lobbies and miniature paid areas at MTR stations

  1. xahldera says:

    I can only imagine regarding Kowloon station either that there was some crowd flow issues identified that require such a layout, or that the fact that the Airport Express and Tung Chung lines have separate fare gates that requires the lift to have it’s own entrance.

  2. W Chu says:

    When Kowloon Station originally opened, the “unpaid” area separately the escalators and lifts was not present; there was a single “paid” area. However, the problem was that “unpaid” passenger that wanted to cross the AEL lobby (where the taxi stands / check-in counters were) and the TCL lobby had to go up a few floors, cross over, and then go back down.

    Therefore, the MTR opened the “unpaid” corridor to link up the AEL and TCL lobbies. However, the only problem with this arrangement is that the they would have to create a mini “paid” area for the lifts.

    • Thanks for the history there – interesting that the need to cross between the lobbies was missed as part of the original design.

      • Matthieu says:

        I’m sure the MTR never forecasted the need for it, back then Kowloon was pretty poor and anyways Kowloon Station was a bit out of the way for people to take the train for the airport, a direct bus ride was much more pleasant. However nowadays it’s a totally different story: Chinese tourists would get off buses from Shenzhen and transfer to the Airport Express, if this link hadn’t been opened, they would have to go up and down as W Chu said, leading to… A lot of lost tourists!

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