Top 10 most annoying things on the MTR!

top 10 most annoying things mtr hong kong mrt train hk
The recent over-crowding of the trains is another important one to add to the list!
top 10 most annoying things mtr hong kong mrt train hk
The recent over-crowding of the trains is another important one to add to the list!

There are actually twelve deadly sins of taking the MTR! This list applies to everyone – men and women, young and old, locals, foreigners, and tourists of all stripes.

12. Not having your Octopus card ready, and then blocking the turnstile while you search for it. Sorry, but how many times have you taken the MTR? You know you need it, so get it prepared before you get to the turnstile and start holding everyone up!

11. Standing on the left on the super long MTR escalators, blocking everyone who wants to walk. You’re making the MTR system totally inefficient. (The MTR attendants in the yellow shirts should be making sure that people aren’t standing on the left instead of doing whatever else they are idling around for.) Walk on the left, stand on the right.

10. Cutting in front of the person in front of you who is obviously waiting politely for the train to arrive before stepping in front of the door. Common sense, but many people seem to be lacking it.

9. People with backpacks, and other bags constantly knocking into you during the ride. Be conscious of your belongings! If you’re going into a crowded train with your bag, at least be aware of your surroundings and how your things effect others.

8. Rushing in to use the extra-wide turnstile while someone who has a legitimate use (baby carriages, wheel chairs, suitcases, bikes etc.) is standing by, waiting to walk through from the opposite entrance.

7. Standing on the platform, blocking the exit, as people try to get off a crowded train. You might get an elbow for this.

6. Entering the train car and stopping just inside the door. What? Are you too dumb to realize that you’re blocking everyone else behind you, inconveniencing them, and causing them to be crowded together needlessly? Totally inconsiderate. Move to the interior of the car.

5. Reaching the top of an escalator with your suitcase, and then stopping directly in front of it, creating a pile-up. This causes the whole escalator full of people to stumble to try not to crash into the person ahead of them. This is criminal and dangerous.

(Meanwhile, the MTR wasn’t designed so that every person could drag a suitcase behind them. This is one way that Hong Kong people are clearly suffering due to the large number of tourists utilizing the MTR.)

4. Not giving up seats to pregnant women, the disabled and the elderly. Come on people! Somehow it’s o.k. as long as you don’t make eye contact? You’re not fooling anyone by sitting there staring at your phone while people in better need of a seat are forced to stand. Have some empathy and decency. (Likewise, old people should have some dignity and not try to cut their way in front of everyone waiting for the train either, that’s just rude.)

3. People who smell bad, holding the hanging straps. Yuck! You make it a tough ride for everyone around you!

2. Clipping your fingernails on the MTR. Gross! Do you think they magically disappear?

1. Picking your nose on the train. This shouldn’t be happening, and yet it frequently does. Sun Yat-sen is rolling over in his grave when you do this!

Did we forget any? Leave any out? Have a story to share? Please add yours in the comments!


  • I’ve got one to add: Not letting people off the train first! I really hate when that happens. People waiting outside the train should wait for other people to get off and make room for them!

  • One thing you haven’t mentioned, that isn’t only limited to the MTR but seems to annoy me more when I’m in an MTR station, is people walking whilst staring at their phone, which makes walking through the station that little more difficult. You can also add people who walk next to one another, sometimes making it extremely difficult to pass, especially those times when you’re in a rush.

  • Taking the elevator and not letting the others who actually need it with strollers, luggage, etc get on.

  • I’m starting to notice some people have no intention boarding at all….but insist on standing where the exit/entrance doors are located. Step aside.

  • Hi Ruth, Anita, Rez, and Michael,

    Yes! Those are all good observations. Sadly, Hong Kong is only getting worse as people walk around glued to their phones and not paying attention to what’s happening around them.

    There are lots of stories on Facebook these days of people walking around staring at their phones bumping into strangers, and then getting angry that their phones fell down!

    The social norms here need to change.

  • Those who lacks backbone and likes to lean on the poles making it difficult for people to hold on!!!

  • 11. Standing on the left on the super long MTR escalators

    “Walk by left, stand by right” is a legacy slogan. The escalator safety slogan nowadays actually advises passengers to stand still on escalators and not to walk. Anyway, there are still many people stick to the habit on “walk by left, stand by right” 🙂

  • They need to bring back the walk on the left announcement! Standing on both sides is totally inefficient and jams up the system. Are people really that incapable of walking on an escalator?

    On that same note, it seems a little dangerous to ask people to hold the railing considering how many illnesses are being spread. (Anyone remember SARS?) How unsanitary are those railings?

    Hold the railing at your own risk! The announcement seems more like legal protection for the MTR in case someone gets hurt due to mechanical failure. In practice, it’s probably NOT a good idea for anyone to hold the railing apart from the elderly or people with balance problems.

  • Shall we take this further, and complain to the MTR Company?

    RE: blocking the walk way on the escalator‘s left side

    MTR Co Ltd. NEVER made it a rule to “stand on the right and walk on the left”..

    That‘s why we do not see any signs saying this.

    That‘s why the current system is inefficient, and it upsets many people who are in a hurry..

    It also make Hong Kong look appear lawless, unlike stricts rules in Singapore… (incl priority seats)

    I would like things to change! Any good suggestions?

    By making it “official” by MTR Co Ltd, people genuinely in a hurry will not unnecessarily appear to be push overs , but rather privileged individuals who can choose to stand or go thru as they please.

    Just a consideration for others is always well appreciated!

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