Eating and drinking on Hong Kong’s public transportation

On most public transportation in Hong Kong the consumption of food and beverages is outlawed. It is acceptable to nibble on Mini-buses and The Star Ferry fleet, and it is more than acceptable to do the same on almost all inter-island ferries – usually on the upper decks. The convenience to eat on the ferries is great and I would imagine that most ferry commuters would not like to see this abolished.


So, given Hong Kong’s decent regard for rules and regulations the vast majority of people abide seamlessly by the simple rules and can easily go without consuming snacks or any other beverages on a moving vehicle for the duration of their journey, and it is fair to say that one could travel the length and breadth of Hong Kong on MTR trains and buses without seeing a single person nibbling or slurping away. However, there are exceptions to the norm as ever and on many occasions the by laws are being broken on a daily basis – likely in a city with a large population. It appears on the face of it that the biggest offenders (or rule breakers) are teenagers, usually in school uniforms and in the company of peers, school crest sewn on for all to see. The school is hardly to blame but it is hard to separate the act of doing something which is on the cusp of anti-social and against the by laws of the transportation company and not register subconsciously the school name. I’m pretty sure that the kids are not dying of thirst or hunger and could easily wait until they are outside the train and the station’s ‘paid areas’ before delving into their greasy purchase.

There are fines for eating on public transportation so for those who’ve been living on Mars for the past quarter century – check out MTR by law 27(b) and you’ll see that the fine for the consumption of food and beverages is $2000. It’s a stiff penalty and rightly, so. There’s nothing worst than smelling a passengers filthy food on a busy MTR train, or a quiet one for that matter. It’s just not nice and invariably, some part of the food’s contents or wrapping drops to the floor unnoticed by the socially inept diner. So if my observations are intact, there could be a relationship between the age of the offenders and the act and if this is the case, the question to ask is why? Perhaps it is a lack of social etiquette, education, development, care and pride in their city, manners, decency or basic common sense. I beg it’s not the last one because if it is, it doesn’t bode well for Hong Kong’s cleanliness or hygiene in the future.   

Make a conscious effort on your travels to note the age group of people you spot eating or drinking on public transportation. You’ll see a trend, I’m sure!!


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Comments (2)

2 Responses to “Eating and drinking on Hong Kong’s public transportation”

  1. Winne Fong says:

    I built a new habit now — having breakfast on ferry everyday. :)

  2. Alan Dowling says:

    Eating on the ferry is an efficient way to have breakfast so once you get to your desk you can start work immediately!