Forty five grand to line your trolleys up?

Trolleys lined up at Hong Kong MTR station

They’ve thought about the customer at Hong Kong airport. At every MTR station on the express route to the aiport, the trolleys have been lined up so that they are in front of the passengers getting off the train. No hunting for a free trolley – they are waiting for you! Nice!

But stop to think about that. Someone is employed to line up the trolleys. Given the hours the station is open (18 hours) it is going to be more than one person every day, more likely two; three to cover shifts across the whole week. Trains arrive every 15 minutes, so there will be other tasks for this role to do, but if they are offering a consistent customer experience then the focus will be this role.

So let’s work a UK equivalent, we need to employ three additional employees at, say, £8 per hour. Once Employers National Insurance is factored in (and not including sick pay or any benefits) that’s about £15k for each individual, or an optimistic £45,000 pa for the customer experience of having the trolleys lined up.

Justify that to the beancounters…


  1. jenny · Wednesday, 27 June, 2007

    when I was there they didn’t line it all up like that in the photo… we saw the staff there, in red uniform and caps, pulling out trolleys for us. I suppose this was to make sure everyone has a trolley when whoever was on duty goes for a lunch break?

  2. Prashant · Wednesday, 27 June, 2007

    I think its a waste of money. Whats the point ? There are a lot of redundant jobs in HK…we had these taxi inspectors at the airport whose only job it seems was to direct the taxis to one of the four passenger queues in order.

    Just because something is done in the name of customer service does not necessarily make it right. :-))

  3. Josh · Thursday, 28 June, 2007

    If those were in Chicago they would all be setting there because they were broken and nobody could use em. If those were in New York they would be bolted to the ground.

  4. Andrew · Thursday, 28 June, 2007

    You’re WAY off, my friend, in your calculations. You’re probably paying about £3,500 – £4,000 pa x 2 people including our MPF (mandatory savings with employer’s contribution). There are no company benefits.

    So you’re looking at £8,000 a year for this service (12K max), plus the fact that these guys keep the place spotless and people remember you as having a clean, efficient and thoughtful infrastructure. Compare that with arriving at Paddington.

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