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Wednesday, March 30, 2016, 10:58

MTR set for 2.7% fare hike

By Li Xiange

HONG KONG – MTR fares are expected to increase by 2.7 percent in June, the smallest rate of increase since 2013.

MTRC Chief Executive Lincoln Leung Kwok-kuen said sustainable and stable fare revenues were critical to fund significant operating costs and investments required to maintain and upgrade the extensive rail network. He noted that more than HK$7 billion had been spent on maintenance and upgrades last year.

Leung said the increase was still below inflation and payroll index increases. It was also as among the lowest quarter of 30 metros in major cities cited in an international survey.

The Transport and Housing Bureau said the government would continue to review new fare levels and rebate offers. This is to maintain financial stability without unduly burdening passengers or sacrificing service levels.

Legislative Council’s Transport Panel chairman Michael Tien Puk-sun urged the transport giant to give cash rebates to the public. He noted that the MTR was able to pay its staff salaries by the margins left in its fare revenues. This was after giving discounts to the public.

Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Bill Tang Ka-piu said the current fare mechanism was meaningless if it was unable to freeze or lower ticket prices. He suggested the Executive Council could deal with MTR fare hikes in future.

Hang Seng Management College school of business dean Raymond So said rail operations alone did not contribute to the MTRC’s bottom line.

So said better clarity over the corporation’s finances would be achieved by spinning off its rail operations from its other business interests - largely involving property development.

Rises in MTR fares from 2010 to 2016:

2016: 2.7%

2015: 4.3%

2014: 3.6%

2013: 2.7%

2012: 5.4%

2011: 2.2%

2010: 2.05%

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