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Published: 22:59, March 21, 2023 | Updated: 23:02, March 21, 2023
HK residents: MTR fare formula change ‘good but not enough’
By Oasis Hu in Hong Kong
Published:22:59, March 21, 2023 Updated:23:02, March 21, 2023 By Oasis Hu in Hong Kong

On the first day of the mask mandate being lifted on March 1, 2023, only a few people were seen maskless on their way out of an MTR station yet. (ANDY CHONG / CHINA DAILY)

Hong Kong residents on Tuesday said the downward adjustment in the MTR ticket fare hike this year is “a good thing”; however, they expect to see a reduction in the overall fares.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Secretary for Transport and Logistics Lam Sai-hung announced the MTR Corp’s profits from its property business would be linked to its metro fares — a move which is expected to lead to a 3.85 percent drop in this year’s ticket fare hike under the annual fare adjustment mechanism. The final results of the fare adjustment will be announced later, pending the release of the transport service’s nominal wage index in late March. The new fares will take effect in June.

Local resident Jacky Ko Chung-kit said that factoring in the rail operator’s property development profits — its main source of revenue — is a much fairer way of calculating the ticket fare adjustment than the previous way.

Under the new arrangement, the higher the profits of the MTR property business, the lower the fare hike it can impose, Ko said.

Ko called on more Hong Kong companies to introduce a more equitable wealth distribution system so that more residents can enjoy the fruits of economic development.

Leung Fai, 40, a chef at a restaurant in Tin Wan, takes the South Island line of the MTR on his daily commute. He said that even though MTR stations on the subway are quite close to each other, his commute still costs him more than HK$10 ($1.27) each way. He said he thinks this is unreasonable.

Leung welcomes the new pricing policy; however, he said that MTR fares are expensive for the grassroots, and that he hopes MTR Corp can introduce more measures to reduce fares.

Garie Lau, a 40-year-old restaurant owner, said that for the public to benefit from this fare reform, the government must ensure that the cost of the downward adjustment in the fare hike will not ultimately be borne by residents.

Lau said an MTR fare increase would push more people — especially the elderly and children — to take the bus. She also called for lowering MTR ticket fares, saying that the new measures were “unsatisfactory” to the public.

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