This city has one of the world's most highly regarded subway systems, with spotless stations, cellphone service on trains and even computers with free Internet access on some platforms. Getting from one side of Hong Kong Island to the other takes a mere 25 minutes for the eight-mile journey on trains that have a 99.9 percent on-time record.
The subways of the Mass Transit Railway system, called the M.T.R. for short, were once thought to augur the death knell for a much slower and less comfortable mode of transport above ground: the century-old Hong Kong tram, which snakes slowly through the city's heavy traffic, its passengers suffering through the tropical humidity without the air-conditioning that cools the underground transit network.
But the trams, perhaps surprisingly, are holding their own.
"I take the tram very often — it's convenient, economical and efficient," said Derik Wong, 42, who works in the food and beverage industry and takes the tram 5 to 10 times a week. "If you plan your time well, the tram's speed is not a problem."
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Called the ding-dings by locals for their pedestrian warning bells, the trams draw 200,000 riders a day for a price of 2.30 Hong Kong dollars, or 30 cents, a ride, regardless of distance traveled. Seniors pay half price.