Legislator wants MTR fare rise checked
Thursday, April 02, 2015
Legislators are urging administration officials to review the fare adjustment mechanism with the MTR Corp as soon possible instead of working on an arrangement that this process only happens every five years.
Wong Kwok-hing of the Federation of Trade Unions argued at a special meeting of the Finance Committee yesterday that as the biggest shareholder of the MTRC the government should use its powers to review the mechanism when it sees fit.
A latest decision by the MTRC to raise fares by 4.3 percent has caused resentment since it did so after announcing a profit of HK$12 billion, Wong said in urging a freeze on fares.
Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said since the MTRC is a listed company smaller stakeholders also needed to be considered.
Cheung also said he has asked the MTRC to clarify the thinking behind its fare promotions.
The current operating agreement states that the government and MTRC should review the fare mechanism every five years. “But if both sides agree a review could be advanced,” Cheung said.
The MTRC announced last Friday that the 4.3 percent increase will be effective in June. That will be the second-biggest increase in six years.
The MTRC has said the increase is based on rates of inflation and the yearly increases in wages for the transport sector, which come to 4.9 percent.
Meanwhile, Civic Party legislator Kwok Ka-ki said the administration and the Airport Authority are leading the SAR’s citizens on “a great gamble” with the proposed HK$140-billion third runway as benefits are not guaranteed.
And on whether officials intend to review the charging policy for the Eastern Harbour Tunnel, Cheung said the intention is not meant to raise revenues but to control traffic flows. QI LUO