Age-Friendly Stations & Customer Engagement
Date of issue: 2019-02-26
Results & Impacts
- Barrier-free access to every station in the MTR network
- New passenger lifts, seats and public toilets
- A team of around 80 Elderly Ambassadors to advise and assist customers
- Regular engagement with more than 20 non-governmental organisations through MTR Society Link
MTR’s vision is to be a leading multinational company that connects and grows communities with caring service. Elderly customers account for around 10% of the Corporation’s customer mix, and with Hong Kong having an ageing population, that will increase in the years ahead. For elderly people to maintain their mobility and continue to participate in the life of the city, MTR understands that it must listen and respond to their needs.
“Providing caring customer service is at the heart of MTR’s mission to connect and grow communities with world-class railway service. To fulfil this mission, we continually improve and enhance our services by always putting the needs of our passengers first.”
– Mr Lincoln Leong, Chief Executive Officer, MTR Corporation
Since 2012, seven new external passenger lifts have been installed and eight hydraulic lifts have been replaced; eight more external lifts are under construction. Over 50 wheelchair-friendly wide gates have been installed, in addition to 16 new Customer Service Centres with low counters. More than 320 seats have been added to platforms and adits, and five new public toilets have been built, with another eight to be added by 2020. The toilets, lifts and seats have become standard design features which are provided at all new stations.
These improvements came about following the launch of MTR’s Listening • Responding programme in 2012. Customers are invited to submit their feedback, which is used to help set priorities for the Corporation’s HK$6 billion annual investment in maintaining and upgrading railway assets. Other changes implemented by MTR as a result of the programme include free Wi-Fi hotspots in all stations, and the installation of large signboards with directions to local landmarks. Consequently, customer satisfaction surveys show that around 90% of customers recognise that MTR is investing resources to respond to their needs.
To further engage and connect with its older customer base, MTR launched the Elderly Ambassador programme in 2010. Elderly Ambassadors are deployed at 20 stations across the network to assist passengers, especially more mature passengers, whose needs they understand. There are currently 80 Elderly Ambassadors, aged between 55 and 65, who have been trained and are employed on a part-time basis by MTR.
Elderly engagement forms part of MTR’s wide-ranging approach to social inclusion and community partnership. MTR Society Link was established in 2009 as a platform for the Corporation’s Operations Division to exchange views and connect with non-governmental, professional and social welfare organisations. As part of the initiative, MTR Relationship Managers organise visits and quarterly gatherings, and produce a bi-annual e-newsletter.
As the Corporation has demonstrated its commitment, participation has increased, providing more feedback for continuous improvement. MTR Society Link now has 23 member NGOs. The initiative won the Caring Company Outstanding Award for Social Inclusion in 2014/15.
MTR works with numerous other organisations to engage elderly customers. A twice-yearly communication forum with elderly community groups and NGOs is co-organised with HKCSS. Elderly Ambassadors are recruited with the support of local elderly and community centres.
MTR’s clear corporate vision, mission and values have been a key driving force for its approach with elderly customers. The values drive behaviours, which in turn build the mutual respect and trust with stakeholders that are essential for success.
Continuous engagement and outreach help to build on that trust further. Station Managers and staff volunteers visit elderly centres in their area to share the latest travel information and safety advice. For example, elderly customers are informed that they may ask to use the staff toilets in stations that do not have public facilities.