MTR Corp pressed to keep fare discount

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 July, 2005, 12:00am

Political parties yesterday made a last-ditch appeal to the MTR Corporation not to scrap its fare concession of one free ride for every 10 from tomorrow.

The Democratic Party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) and the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood held protests at the railway's Kowloon Bay headquarters, urging it to reverse its decision.

The fare concession started in 2001 under heavy pressure from political parties, which urged transport operators to cut fares amid the economic downturn. The scheme allows frequent commuters to get one free ride for every 10 taken in a week.

But the company announced earlier in the week that it would be scrapped, citing the stronger economy.

Instead the company will introduce new promotions, such as Delifrance discount coupons for frequent commuters and a $2 flat fare for children and elderly Octopus users on Sundays and public holidays - excluding the Airport Express.

The Democratic Party's deputy transport policy spokesman, Gary Fan Kwok-wai, said the MTR Corp was evading its responsibility.

'Its excuse for scrapping the concession is very feeble. While the economy may have improved, the effects have not found its way to the grass roots,' he said.

MTR Corp said the concession in its present form would not be financially viable.

In May, bus operators scrapped discount fares for long-distance and elderly holiday commuters.