For information

Legislative Council Panel on Transport

Progress of Year 2000 Compliance Exercises for the KCRC, MTRC and the Octopus

At the Panel meeting on 23 April 1999, Members noted the progress of the Y2K compliance position in the public transport sector and requested further information on the two railway corporations and the Octopus system.

2.Annexes A to C set out the details of the rectification work, compliance testing and contingency planning carried out by the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, the Mass Transit Railway Corporation and the Creative Star (in respect of the Octopus system) respectively. An updated summary of the Y2K compliance position of the major public transport operators is at Annex D.

Transport Bureau
21 June 1999

Annex A

Progress on Year 2000 Compliance in the KCRC


This paper reports on the position of the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation with respect to the Year 2000 (Y2K) Project as of 31 May 1999.

Overview of Present Situation

2. The Corporation has assessed 375 systems for Y2K compliance. One hundred systems were found to have the Y2K problem. By 31 May 1999, 99 out of the 100 non-compliant systems had been fixed. The only outstanding non-compliant system is the East Rail Interactive Voice Response System which is not a mission critical system. The remedial work for the system will be completed by 30 June 1999.

Critical Railway Operation Systems

3. The Corporation has identified the three most critical railway operation systems, and they are the East Rail Automatic Train Protection (ATP) System, the Light Rail Vehicle Information System and the Octopus Smart Card System.

4. The East Rail ATP System and the Light Rail Vehicle Information System have been thoroughly tested for Y2K compliance with assistance from the respective suppliers. The East Rail ATP System was further assessed independently by an external consultant. No Y2K problems were found with the two systems.

5. The Corporation has completed testing of its own set-ups of the Octopus Smart Card System in the East Rail and the Light Rail. A few minor problems were found, and the supplier has already fixed them. Creative Star is testing the Central Clearing House System, and plans to complete this by 30 June 1999. The Corporation also intends to conduct end-to-end, integrated testing of the complete Octopus Smart Card System in conjunction with Creative Star before 30 June 1999. Annex A - page 2

Contingency Measures

6. It is well understood that, despite best efforts being made to achieve Y2K compliance, problems might still arise. The Corporation has put in place contingency plans for the critical business processes in railway operation, and intends to complete testing of the plans by 30 June 1999.

Y2K Status of External Bodies

7. The Corporation has completed an analysis of the potential impact on the cross-boundary through train and freight train operations in the event that the Corporation's Mainland partners fail to resolve their Y2K problems. Management has found no reasons for special concern as the procedures, which East Rail Division already has in place, could adequately deal with this situation. Also, no cross-boundary train services will be in operation at the precise times when the millennium and leap year rollovers take place at midnight on 31 December 1999, 28 February 2000 and 29 February 2000 respectively.

8. The Corporation has solicited information from critical suppliers with respect to their progress in tackling the Y2K problem, in order to assess their ability to continue delivering goods and services to the Corporation beyond the end of this century. No concerns were identified. Nevertheless, Management plans to arrange for certain proprietary spare items to be delivered prior to 31 December 1999, ahead of the normal delivery schedule.


9. The Corporation considers that satisfactory progress has been made in identifying and tackling the Y2K problem, and in developing contingency plans to ensure business continuity.

Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation
June 1999

Annex B

Progress on Year 2000 Compliance in the MTR Corporation


A review of progress on the millennium issues for the MTR Corporation is given for information.


2. The Corporation is well aware of the issue and has been carrying out extensive studies and tests on the matter since 1995. A steering committee headed by the Operations Director was set up to address issues arising from the Y2K problem.

3. Reporting to the Executive, the Committee formulates strategies, monitors progress and develops implementation and contingency plans. There are four areas of concerns to be addressed, namely, the operational control system, business information systems, business partner readiness assessment and contingency planning.

Progress in Rectification Work

4. Rectification work to ensure Y2K readiness of operational systems, facilities, information systems and business systems will be completed by end June 1999. In addition, contingency plans will be put in place to mitigate against unexpected problems, in the unlikely event that a problem should arise.

5. All systems, including train operations, estate management and other supporting functions, have been assessed for compliance. In-house testing and supplier compliance, including rectification of non-compliant systems, has been completed. We are now moving into the final testing phase. The Corporation intends to include Y2K updates within its web page.

(a) Safety Critical Systems

6. The Corporation places great emphasis on safety. All safety critical systems have now been tested and along with supporting supplier letters of compliance are assured Y2K ready.

(b) Integrated Testing

7. The Corporation places equal emphasis on continuous and uninterrupted services for passengers, hence all operational critical systems for both MTR and the Airport Express have been tested during non-traffic hours as total system to ensure interfaces as well as individual systems, continue to perform correctly in year 2000. This includes the Octopus system and equipment which are tested and confirmed to be Y2K ready. As further assurance of compliance, extended on-line Y2K testing of train service with dates set beyond 2000 of operational systems has been in progress since 9 May 1999.

8. Integrated testing of IT and business systems have also drawn to a satisfactory close.

(c) Business Partners

9. Formal co-ordination and interface evaluation meetings have been held with business partners of the Corporation to assess compliance status.

10. Benchmarking has been undertaken with the Community of Metro (CoMET) and in another exercise with organizations in Europe and USA conducted by a third party, a survey has shown the MTR approach to be robust.

Contingency Planning

11. Contingency planning and recovery procedures for operational control systems, IT and business systems, property and estates are well advanced and will be completed in June 1999. For train services, worst case failure scenarios have been considered, as well as other scenarios stemming from failure modes of business partners. This planning has been carried out in spite of the objective of achieving 100% rectification of any non-compliance.

12. Rehearsals of contingency plans will be conducted in September 1999 and these plans will be updated in light of the changing situation in Hong Kong in respect of millennium celebrations.

13. Within MTR, a special Y2K control centre will be set up to co-ordinate internal departments and external partners for all Y2K critical dates. Hotlines will be set up for advance warning from railways in time zones ahead of Hong Kong in New Zealand, Australia and Japan.


14. Both internal and external audits have been conducted and have proven to be positive on the approach taken by MTR Corporation in handling the Y2K readiness and preparing for the contingency. A total of 5 audits have been conducted todate.

15. Audits were commissioned early in the project, and more recently to verify the approach taken and progress made. Audits have also taken place as an integral part of the annual financial audits, risk assessment carried out for our Insurance Brokers.

Staff Preparation

16. The additional staffing required for the critical rollover days has been identified. These resources will be on standby at their designated posts, on all critical days in readiness should the contingency plans have to be activated. To prepare staff, in-house training and desktop planning exercises will be conducted, there will also be a full rehearsal in September 1999. Maintenance staff are also being prepared for the rollover days. They will contribute to the rehearsals by practising the proactive rollover procedures.


17. We believe that we have been diligent in assuring Y2K readiness and it is our intention that MTR passenger services will not be disrupted during the critical period.

Mass Transit Railway Corporation
June 1999

Annex C

Progress on Year 2000 Compliance in the Octopus

Rectification and Testing Undertaken

The Octopus system was designed to be Y2K compliant. The main contractor had declared that the Octopus system was Y2K compliant and a series of Y2K tests were performed for all equipment supplied by the contractor, ERG Limited. All tests were scheduled to be completed in June 1999.

2. Although guarantee was obtained from the contractor, Creative Star and Service Providers have also undertaken their own tests to provide assurance.

Creative Star Central Clearing Housing System

3. Y2K testing was carried out to ensure all settlement and reconciliation functions are correct for all critical Y2K dates. The test was scheduled to complete by the end of June 1999. No major problem is found so far.


4. All front-end equipment and station computers passed the Y2K tests carried out by MTRC in early 1999.

KCR East Rail

5. All front-end equipment and station computers passed the Y2K tests carried out by KCR-East Rail in 1998. There was one minor receipt printing problem for the portable card analyser which was subsequently fixed by the contractor. All Y2K testing on the back-end computer systems has been completed and no non-compliance was found.

KCR Light Rail

6. The testing on front-end equipment and back-end system has been completed. There are some problems with the station computer and a few platform processors. They have been fixed and subsequently re-tested.

KMB, Citybus and New World First Bus (NWFB)

7. An end-to-end testing of the bus system was performed by the contractor before delivery. No non-compliance was identified during the test. KMB and Citybus performed their own testing in May 1999. All tests were completed without any major issues identified.

HYF Octopus Equipment

8. HYF have scheduled to test the Y2K compliance of the following activities in June and July 1999 -

  1. sales of the Monthly Tickets;

  2. after mid-night sailing fare deduction at gates and point-of-sales terminals for 'different ticket types' and 'deluxe class upgrade'; and

  3. activation of different fare tables (normal week day and holiday).
Contingency Plan

9. The contingency plan for the Octopus system is to roll back the date of the system to a pre-selected last-good date. The critical dates and roll-back dates have been identified and proposed to the Service Providers. Technical guideline and procedure has been developed and distributed to all Service Providers. Service Providers have been advised to tailor and test their own date change procedures well before the critical dates.

Creative Star
June 1999

Annex D

Progress of Y2K Rectification Work of Public Transport Operators
(as at end May 1999)

OperatorProgress of
rectification work
Contingency plan
Franchised bus companiesKMB and the Long Win Bus have completed the rectification work. Draft plans ready for testing in end June 1999.
Citybus has carried out 95% of the rectification work
(completion in July 1999).
Already in place.
New World First Bus is already Y2K compliant. Plans being prepared.
New Lantao Bus has completed the rectification work. Draft plans ready for testing by end July 1999.
Hongkong Tramways Ltd. The company has carried out 99% of the rectification work
(completion in end June 1999).
Already in place.
Peak Tramways Co. Ltd.Rectification work completed.Already in place.
The Star Ferry Co. Ltd.Y2K compliantAlready in place.
Hongkong & Kowloon Ferry Ltd.Y2K compliant Plans being prepared.
The Hongkong & Yaumati Ferry Co. Ltd.The company has carried out 90% of the rectification work
(completion in end June 1999).
Already in place.
Discovery Bay Transportation Services Ltd. Rectification work is expected to be completed in end June 1999. To be drawn up.
Shun Tak Ferry Ltd. Rectification work is expected to be completed in end June 1999. Plans being prepared.
Railway Corporation MTRC has completed the rectification work. Tests are being conducted. Already in place. Tests are being conducted.
KCRC has completed 99% of the rectification work for completion in end June 1999. Tests are being conducted. Plans prepared. Tests to be conducted in end June 1999.
Creative Star Ltd. (Octopus)Y2K compliant. Already in place.