Commuters who plan to use MTR’s upcoming South Island Line (East), or SIL(E), rail line should be prepared to shell out more in fares compared to what they are paying now for bus travel along the route.
Based on an announcement from the local rail operator Monday, an adult who uses an Octopus card to go from Mong Kok to South Horizons or vice versa using the new line will have to pay HK$14.2.
That would be HK$3.1 costlier compared to the fare on the No.171 KMB bus for the same route, the Hong Kong Economic Journal points out.
In another example, a one-way trip from Admiralty to Ocean Park — the lowest fare on the new line — will cost HK$5.3 for rail commuters, 60 cents more than that charged by the No.70 bus operated by Citybus.
Compared to the ticket price on the No.629 bus that runs between Admiralty to Ocean Park, the train fare will however be 50 percent cheaper.
MTR officials admitted that rail travel will be costlier in some cases, but pointed out that commuters will be saving a lot in travel time.
Jeny Yeung Mei-chun, MTR Corporation’s commercial director, said the fares on the extended line — which runs from Admiralty to South Horizons via Ocean Park — have been set in reference to the ticket prices on the rail operator’s existing lines, which are bases on the travel distance.
She added that the current fare discounts and promotional programs, including MTR City Saver, Monthly Pass Extra and Early Bird Discount Promotion, will all be applicable to the new line.
In addition, MTR plans to work with minibus operators to provide Octopus card users with transfer discounts at Wang Chuk Hang Station and Ocean Park Station.
In may, the Transport Department recommended the cancellation of 11 franchised bus routes operated by New World First Bus and Citybus, and the introduction of 10 new franchised bus and minibus routes linked to the SIL(E) stations.
Spokesmen from the bus operators said they will consider re-arranging some routes within six months after the new line begins service. The changes will depend on passenger traffic.
Francis Li Shing-kee, head of MTR operations, said the SIL(E) is expected to see a daily average of 170,000 passengers and therefore there will be a train in service every three minutes at peak hours.
The SIL(E), which cost HK$16.9 billion (US$2.18 billion) to build, is about seven kilometers long and includes five stations.
MTR is discussing an opening date with the government.
Michael Tien, a lawmaker who once headed the Legislative Council’s railways subcommittee, has said earlier that he expects the new line to open on Christmas Day this year.
[Chinese version 中文版]
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