By Jackie Militello
When I came to HKU for my interview, not yet knowing the confusing bus system and not knowing what the bus stop would look like, I took a taxi. Upon finishing at 5pm or so, I saw the bus stop near the East Gate, and thought I couldn’t get too lost going home. I found the right bus to Admiralty and boarded, thinking I would be home in 10-15 minutes tops, given that I could run in 30 minutes. This Bonham/Caine Road run is a regular in my repertoire, so I knew the timing well. After an initial quick 60 seconds down the street, the bus started a stop /board/merge/wait traffic pattern. I started to notice some of the walkers going past us: we would pull ahead of them, but then they would plod ahead of us. At the end of my one-hour trip home, I realized that my notion of the great convenience and proximity of HKU was totally wrong—at least by bus through the Mid-Levels.
I wondered how the new MTR extension would change that.
Over the spring and summer as I came in occasionally, I took the MTR. The speed from Admiralty to HKU station was great: a mere 9 minutes. So when I came for the first time once the HKU station opened, I took the MTR. I saw Run Run Shaw on the exit and went in that direction. I had 20 minutes to spare, so I took the time to look at the photos on the wall that traced the history of HKU through the ages. I love old photos, and these did not disappoint. Here are some of my favorites.
I wondered how that bank of elevators was going to work once the fall started and several thousand students and staff needed to get to and from the campus. The postgraduate orientation gave me an indication that there might be “rush hours” with long waits. On my first day, I again budgeted 20 minutes. I turned the corner from the library for the East Gate station entrance and saw this:
Time spent in line: 17minutes 35 seconds. Not too bad. Considering how the line looked, this was less time than I expected.
But that was orientation week, surely an uncommon occurrence, I thought. Well, once classes started I had a meeting with my supervisor at 10:30 am. I thought I’d budget a little time for a Starbucks and left 45 minutes early. I was shocked to come up from the platform to see this:
Total time for 10 am arrival to HKU station: 40 minutes.
10 minutes from Admiralty on the MTR;
over 20 minutes in line for the elevator;
then another 10 in line for the escalator.
Over the semester I learned to come during off hours—not before class started—and found that I could usually make it with just a 5-10 minute elevator wait. Advice if you visit: be careful when class is in session, budget extra time if it’s the morning, and avoid class start time. This way you can enjoy the convenience of the MTR and HKU station.