Date
21 September 2017
A concession fare scheme by Hong Kong's mass railway operator is not as good as it looks and its rush-hour discount leaves much to be desired, according to a legislator. Photo: Bloomberg
A concession fare scheme by Hong Kong's mass railway operator is not as good as it looks and its rush-hour discount leaves much to be desired, according to a legislator. Photo: Bloomberg

Legislator: MTR a crook for raising fares

Hong Kong’s mass transit railway operator has come in for fierce criticism after announcing a fare increase Tuesday, with one legislator calling it a crook.

MTR Corp. (00066.HK) is raising fares by 3.6 percent from June 29, the fifth annual increase in a row, Ming Pao Daily reported.

Almost half of all routes will be at least 3 HK cents more expensive and most cross-harbor trips will go up by at least 5 HK cents.

Legislator Gary Fan, deputy chairman of the transport panel, said the operator is not entitled to raise fares because its service quality has been deteriorating.

Another lawmaker, Michael Tien, who heads the railway subcommittee, questioned MTR’s concession fare scheme, saying it’s not as good at it looks.

MTR offers a 30-day pass worth HK$400 (US$51.60) for 40 rides to 54 destinations and a 25 percent discount during the morning rush hour, Monday to Friday, under a nine-month trial program.

Passengers who use both can save up to 44 percent of the fare. They get a 10 percent discount for a one-day round-trip ticket.

Tien said the concession scheme is not good enough given that Hong Kong employees generally work 22 days a month. The 30-day pass should cover 44 rides rather than 40.

In addition, rush-hour discounts should not only apply to morning commutes but also to off-duty afternoon hours, he said.

The company expects to raise HK$500 million from the fare hike, all of which will be plowed into the concession program, the report said, citing MTR commercial director Jeny Yeung.

She said the increase is necessary to enable the company to maintain high-quality service.

The operator’s maintenance expenditure rose 5.4 percent last year. the report said.

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TL/AC/RA

 

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