Private subways

In October 2000, the operator of Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway (MTR) network, MTR Corporation (MTRCL), was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and privatized. It had initially been wholly owned by the Hong Kong government.

Their railway business is one of the most profitable in the world, with the highest farebox recovery ratio in the world, which is very interesting. Even more interesting (to me) is that MTRCL often develops properties next to its stations, capturing some the value created by proximate access, for additional revenue.

In that way, MTRCL can be thought of as a real estate developer with a unique and highly desirable amenity offering.


This came up in conversation with a friend from Hong Kong over the weekend and is new to me. I want to learn more about the MTR and similarly operated networks around the world. If you have any recommended readings, please let me know on twitter.