Single Journey Ticket Issuing Machine, Hong Kong

I’m loving how the Hong Kong MTR map (April 2012, 4 stars) has been integrated into the ticket-purchasing process. It’s as easy as selecting the station you’re travelling to on the screen, inserting money, and getting your ticket: Ticketing and route information all in one!

(Source: wunelle/Flickr)

Official Map: Hong Kong Light Rail

When I reviewed the map for the Hong Kong MTR back in April, I noted that the smaller, connecting, light rail system in Hong Kong’s north west wasn’t paid much attention. As seen here, it’s a complex and comprehensive system in its own right and is definitely too detailed to co-exist on one map with the MTR system.

Have we been there? No.

What we like: One of the most stylised and diagrammatic maps I’ve seen yet - and one that shows that such a map can be very effective (Although, if you rotate the map 90 degrees counter clockwise, the map does actually correspond pretty well to the physical layout of the system).

Clever integration of the MTR’s West Rail Line into the map - it is shown, but with the parts of the line that don’t interact with the light rail compressed into a tiny area of the map.

Nicely integrated bilingual labels that don’t detract from the layout of the map.

What we don’t like: I’m not a huge fan of the pastel colours for the Zone backgrounds - it makes the map look a bit rainbow-like to my eyes, although this may just be a difference in cultural perception - to my (admittedly untrained) eye, the colours in general do lend a very Chinese feeling to the map.

Our rating: A very solid diagrammatic map that fits neatly into a small, narrow space. Three-and-a-half stars.

3.5 Stars

(Source: Official MTR Light Rail website)

Official Map: Hong Kong MTR

Opened in 1979, the Hong Kong MTR (Mass Transit Railway) has a very clean, easy to understand map that visually owes a debt to its previous colonial owners - the UK - via the London Tube map.

Have we been there? No (the airport by itself doesn’t count).

What we like: Clean and elegant, even with the bilingual requirements of the map. Some unusual but lovely colours for some of the routes, especially the teal used for the Airport Express line.

What we don’t like: The light rail network, which comprises some 69 stations, is relegated to a few random-looking lines with only stations that interchange with the MTR shown. I’m not sure what the meaning of the coloured marks inside interchange stations is: some are straight, others are curved, others cross over each other. An indication of platform layout, perhaps… but it all seems a bit unfathomable to me without any indication in the map’s legend.

Our rating: Simple, clean, effective. An excellent map. Four stars.

4 Stars!

(Source: MTR website)