“With more people walking around, the business will get better, and everyone will be happy.” The good wishes of Ms. Choi, a dried seafood store owner in Des Voeux Road West, were posted on the official website of West Island Line before the opening of Sai Ying Pun station, with the illustration of a cured meat shop named Sheng Xing.
However, six months after the opening of Sai Ying Pun station, store owners along Des Voeux Road West, which is a famous dried seafood street in Hong Kong, seem not so satisfied with the outcome of the new MTR station.
According to Mr. Lu, the owner of Sheng Xing cured meat store which appeared on the MTR website, “after the opening of Sai Ying Pun station, more people tend to walk underground. Thus, they cannot see our stores along the street, let along buying things from us.”
Mr. Lu’s store is located on No. 90 Ko Shing Street, deviated from the main road. But the loss of customers is not a location problem.
Hua Tai Seafood is the nearest dried seafood store to Exit A2 of Sai Ying Pun station. Yet the business there is also experiencing a hard time.
“Yes, there are more people coming out from the MTR exit,” said Mr. Xu, a shop assistant in the store, “but few of them actually come to buy things. Business remains the same, if not decreasing.”
Mr. Xu also complained about the financial environment, and said the national recession of economy damaged his business. He hoped things would get better in the future.
Other parts of the Dried Seafood Street are not so much influenced by the new MTR station.
“Customer volume didn’t change much,” said Ye Hao Yang, whose store is at the end of the seafood street. “We could barely feel any changes.”
When asked about the rent, Ye said, “We’re doing OK, but those who are near Sai Ying Pun station are definitely having a hard time.”
Despite the failure in bringing business to the Dried Seafood Street, the new MTR station reduced the pressure of bus system.
“There are fewer people at the bus stop, especially during rush hours.” Said Mrs. Lo, who lives near the station. She thought the MTR mainly benefits those who work along the MTR line, such as in Central.
As for the elder residents, this convenience doesn’t mean much to them.
“I prefer taking buses or trams if I’m not in a hurry.” Said Mr. Ye. He believed in that way people could see and experience more in Hong Kong. Old things are disappearing from Hong Kong, and he wished to see more before they totally vanish.
Mr. Ye hoped that the MTR could bring more growth to his business in the future, not just the rent.