People living in Shenzhen are constantly crossing the border to Hong Kong for shopping, visa runs, buying Western books, and even partying on weekends. Now, CityBus has opened a new circular route especially for Shenzhen-Hong Kong commuters.
The new B3M bus route, which leaves every 30 minutes from Shenzhen Bay Checkpoint between 9:50 a.m. and 7:50 p.m. daily, and costs just HK$11 (US$1.4), will take eager commuters all the way to Tuen Mun town centre — a hot shopping destination for many mainland residents. Those heading further into town can connect at Tuen Mun MTR Station, which is the terminus of the West Rail Line.
An additional reason was revealed this week for the high influx of mainland shoppers into Hong Kong’s markets: far cheaper prices for medicine.
High-end medicine, such as the Swiss leukaemia drug Glivec, costs a whopping HK$10,000 more in mainland pharmacies — including Shenzhen’s — than in Hong Kong. Higher prices are mainly due to import tariffs.
The most popular existing route for Shenzhen commuters into Hong Kong remains via MTR, which operates trains directly to Hung Hom from both Luohu and Futian checkpoints. Prices for the full journey will set you back around HK$35.
Earlier this week, an air conditioning failure at Futian Checkpoint left frustrated commuters waiting at customs channels in the heat as staff scrambled for hours trying to fix the problem, which was later discovered to have been caused by a burst water main. One girl even fainted due to the lack of air conditioning at the checkpoint, though later regained consciousness.
Heavy over-usage of Shenzhen checkpoints this summer has been contributing to problems. The Bay checkpoint, for example, which was designed to handle a capacity of 60,000 visitors per day, has been seeing as many as 100,000.
Meanwhile, Shenzhen’s other bus company, West Bus, has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons after one of its ticket sellers committed suicide earlier this week over a job suspension and claims of unfair treatment.
Shenzhen West Bus Group drivers, including the husband of the the late-ticket seller, have since gone on strike over what has been called a “fine culture” within the company against its employees, in which fines of up to 1,000 yuan are imposed on staff who break any of the 175 regulation clauses.
Local media has this week been following developments closely, and West Bus are now under investigation for possible labour law violations.
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