Ngong Ping 360’s Rope Replacement Project will start in early January 2017 A series of promotional offers will show appreciation for guests’ support
As a world-class tourist attraction in Hong Kong, Ngong Ping 360 upholds safety first by investing significant resources in the maintenance of our cable car system. We have formulated and executed short-, medium- and long-term maintenance strategies, with the aim of providing a safe, reliable and comfortable cable car service for our guests.
Established in 2006, the Ngong Ping Cable Car is the longest bi-cable ropeway in Asia, with a total length of 5.7 km in one way. The cable car system comprises a track rope and a haul rope. The track rope is the guardrail that supports the weight of the cabins, and the haul rope is responsible for pulling the cabins, making them move along the track rope. The bi-cable design effectively reduces energy consumption and the number of support towers required, ensuring a more stable and comfortable cable car journey. As the cable car system operates in an outdoor environment for long periods, during the construction stage, the overseas manufacturer placed approximately 10 years of back-up rope – close to the limit of our storage capacity – in reserve at the cable car terminal to facilitate regular rope shifting and ensure that the track rope would operate in optimal condition.
The Ngong Ping Cable Car has now been operating for a decade since the opening in 2006. Rope replacement is a normal and necessary process for a bi-cable ropeway, and takes place at regular intervals in all similar cable car systems around the world, such as Austria’s Mayrhofen and Italy’s Seis-Seiseralm, as determined by factors such as utilisation, the surrounding environment and adequate supply of back-up rope. We understand the importance of cable car safety and reliability, as well as the design features of the track rope. In 2014, Ngong Ping 360 had conducted a related study with overseas rope experts. Given that we have to take a number of factors into account, such as the schedule of the overseas rope experts, rope manufacturing time and liaisons with relevant government departments and the overseas manufacturer to formulate a detailed replacement programme and schedule, arranging a timeline for the maintenance project does not have much flexibility.
We are also trying to avoid typhoon season during the project period to uphold a high level of safety and efficiency. According to the Hong Kong Observatory’s records for the past 8 years, no typhoon signal has ever been reported in Hong Kong from January to mid-May. Therefore, we are now working hard to start the rope replacement project in early January 2017. The whole project, which will last for approximately 5 months, is targeted for completion in early June 2017. We will announce the project’s start date a few weeks before it commences. To ensure public safety and facilitate the project’s requirements, the Ngong Ping Rescue Trail will not be open to the public during the replacement period. Ngong Ping 360 sincerely apologises to any affected guests, the public and stakeholders.
Mr Weller Chan, Project Manager of the rope replacement project, explained, “the rope replacement method to be adopted in the project is based on a currently established scheme that will be further modified by our European rope manufacturer according to the overall condition of the Ngong Ping Cable Car system. The principle method is using old rope pulling new rope. Meanwhile, taking into account the limitations of the surrounding environment, including country parks, Tung Chung Bay and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Project, a number of safety measures will be adopted to ensure that the project can be completed safely and efficiently”.
To increase transparency and enhance public understanding of the project, we will invite the media to conduct on-site interviews on one of the project dates under safe conditions.
Minimise impacts through proactive communication with tenants, business partners and staff
Understanding the effects that the project will have on guests, Ngong Ping Village tenants and their staff, 360 Holidays and other business partners, we have taken the initiative to communicate, discuss and coordinate with different stakeholders regarding operational arrangements and formulate a series of measures to minimise the impacts of the project and facilitate a smooth transition for stakeholders and tenants. We look forward to welcoming guests back after the reopening of the cable car system.
We have also provided reasonable and adequate notice to our business partners. We will deal with the requirements of affected partners and their guests flexibly during the project period. Adjustments to the implementation of marketing plans and business arrangements will also be made to minimise the impacts.
Internally, Ngong Ping 360 does not have any plans for wage reduction or retrenchments. We will organise team-building workshops for different departments during the project period to strengthen the relationships between colleagues. We will also arrange various professional training programmes for staff members in different positions to encourage them to equip themselves well and commit themselves to enriching guests’ travel experiences.
Ngong Ping Village will remain open and will proactively attract more guest visits
During the project, Ngong Ping Village will remain open. Guests will be able to purchase our privileged bus tour package at the Tung Chung Cable Car Terminal or take other modes of transport to Ngong Ping Village. Besides, during the Lunar New Year, there will be lion dance performances at Ngong Ping Village.
Implementing land-sea guided tours to promote Lantau tourism to the guests
Ngong Ping 360 has strived to promote the 360 Sky-Land-Sea Lantau experience and travel around Lantau to encourage guests to appreciate its natural scenery and authentic culture. During the rope replacement project, we will roll out land-sea guided tours with bi-literate and tri-lingual guides through 360 Holidays. We will continue to guide guests from around the world as they explore Lantau, Tai O and Ngong Ping, and encourage them to discover the local culture through a unique travel experience. The guided tours are tentatively scheduled three to four times per day at a promotional price of HK$150 per person.
Double exclusive offers for Hong Kong citizens in appreciation of their continuous support
We will launch a series of marketing activities, such as double exclusive offers for local residents, to show our appreciation of guests’ continuous support. From 1 December till the suspension of the cable car service, guests purchasing round-trip cable car tickets or packages at regular prices will be offered one discount card. They will either use the card to join the land-sea guided tour launched by 360 Holidays at the discounted price of HK$100 during the rope replacement period; and/or within the first month after reopening, redeem one individual 360 Annual Pass for 2017 at a preferential price of HK$100 for unlimited cable car rides (Standard Cabin) in 2017. After reopening, we will roll out a series of mega events, setting up unique decorations in cable car cabins and in Ngong Ping Village, and featuring a variety of performances. More privileges will be offered in stages to celebrate a new chapter in Ngong Ping 360’s history.
Dr Stella Kwan, Managing Director of Ngong Ping 360, commented that “the company always pays attention to the safety of the cable car system and has invested huge resources in maintenance to provide guests with safe and comfortable cable car journeys. We will launch a series of activities benefiting Hong Kong citizens to express our gratitude to guests for their continuous support. Ngong Ping Village will remain open during the project period with privileges offered to the guests. Upon project completion, we will launch another series of events and privileges, aiming to deliver quality travel experiences to the guests again”.
Ngong Ping 360 will issue a press release to notify the public a few weeks before the rope replacement project commences. A rope replacement notification will also be uploaded to the company’s website. In addition, notices will be posted at various MTR stations, on Tat Tung Road, on Mei Tung Street and at the Tung Chung Cable Car Terminal during the project period, informing the public and guests about the service suspension.