Public Transportation and Social Movements: Learning from the Hong Kong Anti-Extradition Bill Protests

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, ridership - behaviour, ridership - demand, planning - methods


transportation resilience, social movement, public transportation, disruption management, demand and supply, Hong Kong


In this article, we address the public transportation system’s resilience in social movements, which has been under-explored in transportation scholarship. On the one hand, public transportation enables mass mobilization of people and materials and large-scale public engagement in political/social events in transit-reliant cities like Hong Kong. On the other hand, public transportation can be an instrument for both the government and event participants—the former interferes with the public transportation service provision to manage and mitigate the adverse impacts of social movements it perceives on society, whereas the latter disrupt public transportation services or vandalize and damage related facilities to express their discontent and to put pressure on the former. The dynamic resilience of the public transportation system against the above backdrop warrants more in-depth exploration. We incorporate both supply and demand shocks to theorize resilience as a public transportation system’s capability to return to a new equilibrium between the supply and demand after a disturbance. The theoretical approach is illustrated using empirical data and publicly available materials concerning the 2019 Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill movement in Hong Kong.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by SAGE, copyright remains with them.