Rail merger to see fare cuts of up to 10 per cent from December 2

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 October, 2007, 12:00am

Commuters will enjoy fare cuts of 5 to 10 per cent from December 2 - the date announced by the government yesterday for the HK$12 billion merger of the KCRC and MTR Corp's rail operations.

Under the new fare structure, passengers on medium-distance routes with fares ranging from HK$8.50 to HK$11.90 will benefit from a discount of 5 per cent. For long-distance fares of more than HK$12, the discount will be 10 per cent.

A 'second boarding charge' - an additional cost now incurred by passengers switching from one rail system to another - which ranges from HK$1 to HK$7 - will be scrapped. But travellers using single-journey tickets will still have to pay the charge for at least another year, as turnstiles at interchange stations - such as Kowloon Tong - will not be removed until 12 months after the merger.

The English name of the new company will remain the Mass Transit Railway Corporation but the Chinese name will be changed. A new logo will be created and a new set of staff uniforms will be designed. Details will be announced later.

A Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation staff member said the MTR Corp had been interviewing for general managers. Many non-frontline employees - especially younger ones with lower seniority - are still preferring to wait for an offer from the MTR before deciding if they will apply for a redundancy package.

The package for those taking voluntary redundancy offers up to 20 months' salary according to length of service.

MTR Corp chief executive Chow Chung-kong said staff from both companies were well prepared for a smooth transition.

The government will publish a notice in the Government Gazette next Friday announcing the date of the merger.