Many people on Tuesday found themselves stranded in the famously well-connected city after rail and bus services were crippled as clashes between police and protesters broke out across Hong Kong.

People who had come out on the national holiday found themselves unable to go home as taxis also became scarce. And even when one was found, a hefty amount over the normal fare was demanded.

MTR said it closed 47 stations to safeguard passenger safety, and more than 20 of stations had suffered various degree of damages due to attack by protesters.

In one case, protesters broke into Tsuen Wan station which was closed and vandalised a train which was idling on a platform and threw petrol bombs on tracks. The railway operator said similar incidents also took place in Tai Wai station and Che Kung Temple station after they were closed.

As train services stopped and buses disappeared, many found themselves trapped. Karen Kwok, 23, said it took her three times longer to get back home to Ma On Shan, from Western District, where she ended after taking part in the protest rally.

“It usually takes 45 minutes from Central to Ma On Shan by Bus 681.” said Kwok.

Kwok and two of her sisters were near Hong Kong Police Headquarters at around 4pm when tear gas was fired in Wan Chai. They ran towards Central area, only to find the MTR station there has been shut.

“We heard people saying Central MTR station has just closed when we almost reached there,” she said.

Kwok and sisters then took a bus from Causeway Bay to Hung Hom Cross Harbour Tunnel station, and took another one to Kowloon City.

There also they had to wait for two hours for a taxi, finally managing to get one after agreeing to pay an extra HK$50 on top of the fare.

A university student said she was stuck in Tin Shui Wai for a while trying to reach home in Tuen Mun. She said there were more than 30 people waiting for taxis outside Tin Shui Wai MTR station, most of them heading to Tuen Mun.

She said there were taxis but they reused to ply. “They simply rejected Tuen Mun fares when we approached them.” said Yiu.

The students said MTR should provide shuttle buses if they shut stations in areas where residents rely heavily on the mass railway system.