Hong Kong’s MTR Corporation is set to raise ticket prices by 3.14 per cent in June, leading to calls for a close look at its fare adjustment system.
The latest increase was calculated by taking account inflation rates from the past six months, as well as wage increases in the transport sector.
Rail fares were frozen last year, following seven straight years of fare increases – adding up to a rise of more than 20 per cent since 2010. However, the railway operator is still offering rewards to passengers, including a 3 per cent rebate on fares for every Octopus trip for at least six months, from this year until 2022-23, according to MTR commercial director Jeny Yeung.
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“With the 3 per cent rebate, it is likely that Octopus users will have no effective or actual fare increase in the 2018 calendar year,” she said.
Lawmaker and former railway boss Michael Tien Puk-sun suggested that the company should change its fare-setting formulas to stop fares from sky-rocketing in the long term. Meanwhile, lawmaker Michael Luk Chung-hung, from the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, called for more fare concessions such as a monthly pass for students.
Pooi To Middle School student and frequent MTR user Eunice Yip, 17, isn’t happy with the fare rise, and thinks the fare adjustment mechanism is “not doing its job”. Despite MTR promising “chances for price reduction”, she said she’s only seen prices go up in recent years.
For Chinese International School student Angelina Wang, 16, the fare increase is “a sad but inevitable effect of inflation”. Despite that, she believes “it’s important that policymakers find new ways to [adjust the fare] according to the spending power of students and other passengers.”