The transport and housing bureau has suggested that the
"There are an increasing number of passengers reading newspapers or using mobile devices such as tablet computers or smartphones during their trips, that require more personal space on trains," it said in a paper to the legislature.
It recommended the "removal of some seats in some train compartments, to increase carrying capacity" as well as incentives for passengers who travel outside peak hours.
Smartphone penetration stands at 87 percent of the city's residents, according to government figures from September.
Authorities have been forced to plaster MTR stations with signs warning passengers to look up from their phones to avoid injury on escalators.
The train carriages were designed in the 1980s and 1990s to hold a maximum of six people in 1m2 of space.
The bureau has proposed reducing this number to four to give passengers more space.
Commuters were "less willing to board a train that looks crowded even when there is still room available", it said.
"They prefer waiting for the next train."
On a weekday, an average of 5.2 million passenger trips are made on the 218km network.
"There are more elderly people now (in
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