People line up to buy tickets in Hong Kong West Kowloon Station on Thursday, as high-speed rail linking Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland will resume on Sunday. A total of 10,000 daily tickets for high-speed trains between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong went on sale at noon on Thursday, with tickets for days in the run-up to the Chinese New Year quickly snapped up hours after.
Hong Kong and the mainland will resume their high-speed trains services on Sunday, with tickets for each way capped at 5,000 per day.
The number of high-speed train tickets is in addition to the 60,000 daily quota currently set for HK residents traveling to the mainland.
Passengers in Hong Kong can purchase high-speed train tickets to stations in Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou, all in Guangdong province, through the 12306 website and mobile application or from designated travel agencies, the MTR, the city's high-speed railway operator, announced on Thursday.
China Railway Guangzhou Group said it will arrange an average of 38.5 pairs of high-speed trains every day running from stations in Guangzhou and Shenzhen to Hong Kong's West Kowloon Station.
West Kowloon Station will provide trains to Shenzhen's Futian, Shenzhen North and Guangzhou South and Guangzhou East stations.
In a news briefing on Thursday morning, Secretary for Transport and Logistics Lam Sai-hung said that the high-speed rail service is attractive to travelers because it has been suspended for three years due to the Pandemic, and there are already many attractions near the West Kowloon terminus, such as M and the Hong Kong Palace Museum.
There is no prior booking for checkpoint services required for passengers boarding high-speed trains departing from or entering the city, according to Lam. West Kowloon Station checkpoint will operate from 6: 30 am to 11: 30 pm every day, as it did before closing due to the Pandemic.
A high-speed test train arrives at Guangzhou South Railway Station from Hong Kong on Wednesday. PARKER ZHENG CHINA DAILY High-speed train tickets will be sold on a real-name basis and passengers can board trains with their identification documents. Cross-border train passengers are required to produce a negative COVID 19 nucleic acid test taken within 48 hours of traveling across the border.
The MTR said passengers boarding trains should wear a mask throughout the journey, and that alcohol-based hand rubs and sprays are not permitted on trains.
More cross-border traffic is returning to normal. According to Zhuhai Jiuzhou Port, a ferry service between Hong Kong and Zhuhai Jiuzhou Port will be resumed from Sunday, with a 66 percent discount on the first day.
The company will have four ferry trips between Zhuhai Jiuzhou Port and Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal between January 15 and 21, the eve of Chinese New Year. It will be extended to seven ferry trips on January 22, with four more ferries between the port and the China Ferry Terminal in Hong Kong.
A prior booking is not necessary for the ferry services, according to the company's spokesperson.
After reviewing the resumption of high-speed rail services, Lam said that there was no timetable for resuming cross-boundary bus services at present, and that the government would first need to consult with relevant mainland authorities.
On January 8, Hong Kong opened four checkpoints connecting with the mainland. In the initial stage, 60,000 people are allowed to travel each way through the checkpoints in operation between Hong Kong and the mainland.
They are not subject to any quarantine measures but must provide a negative COVID- 19 test result taken within 48 hours prior to traveling. If they choose to travel through the three land ports, they need to have made a prior booking through designated websites.