Hong Kong people who buy high-speed rail tickets locally for travel between stations in mainland China could find themselves shelling out lower amounts in service fees in the near future.
On Wednesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor revealed in Beijing, where she attended the first plenary meeting of the leading group for the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, that China Railway Corporation (CRC) has agreed to reduce the fees for the mainland journey tickets significantly.
Currently such service fees range from HK$40 to HK$90, depending on the ticket prices paid and the type of coaches chosen.
According to Lam, they will be reduced to between HK$10 and HK$30, in the wake of the negotiations with CRC, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Lam noted that Hongkongers had long been demanding a decrease in the service charge for tickets for journeys on the mainland’s high-speed rail network.
As per the new fee structure, one who buys high-speed rail tickets priced less than 200 yuan in Hong Kong for journeys between mainland destinations will only pay HK$10 as service charge, HK$20 for tickets priced at 200 to 300 yuan, and HK$30 if the tickets cost above 300 yuan.
In addition, Lam also said that CRC has agreed to look into the possibility of waiving service charges for Hong Kong people if they buy tickets online in the mainland.
Regarding the railway’s operational arrangements, Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan will announce the details within August, Lam said.
Michael Tien Puk-sun, chairman of the Legislative Council’s railways subcommittee, has argued that if Hongkongers ride the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) to the mainland and then transfer to another mainland city by high-speed rail, they should not be charged service fees for the tickets they buy for the latter trip.
They should be able to enjoy the benefit since Hong Kong has paid nearly HK$90 billion to build the XRL, Tien said.
In related news, Lam said she will ask CRC general manage Lu Dongfu to come to Hong Kong next month to attend the commencement ceremony of the Hong Kong section of the Express Rail Link.
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