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MTR bonuses under the spotlight

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The MTR may consider making bonus payments to senior executives performance-based following a spate of mishaps.

In the early hours of Monday 18 March, two empty trains reportedly sideswiped each other on the Tsuen Wan line close to the city’s Central station – leading to a disruption to commuters that lasted several days. The accident apparently occurred during a trial run to test a new signalling system designed to boost capacity.

On the following Sunday, overhead cables on the Airport Express and the Tung Chung line became loose, damaging the pantographs (an apparatus mounted on the roof of the trains to collect electric power) of two trains.

It is believed the government – which is the largest shareholder in the MTRC – hopes to link the year-end bonuses of its executives with the service quality and the degree of passenger satisfaction.

This would constitute an overhaul of the current reward-and-punishment system that imposes fines for MTRC senior executives based on the length of train service delays.

According to the MTRC’s 2017 annual report, chairman Frederick Ma Si-hang received a salary, but no variable remuneration based on performance.

This story was first reported in The Standard

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