KCRC scraps discounts for bus patrons to boost West Rail sales
Scarlett Chiang and Ng Kang-chung
The KCRC is scrapping subsidies for bus passengers introduced two years ago to boost patronage of its West Rail line. As a result, Citybus will raise fares on three routes from next month.
The announcement came a day after the MTR Corporation revealed the fare discounts most passengers will enjoy when the two rail companies' operations merge next month.
A spokesman for the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation would not say whether the scrapping of subsidies was linked to the merger.
Passengers on the 701, 702, and 971 routes enjoy a HK$1.50 discount when they take a West Rail train to or from Nam Cheong station in West Kowloon.
The 701, 702, and 971 routes run between Nam Cheong and Mong Kok, Sham Shui Po and Aberdeen, respectively.
The discount will cease to apply from next Saturday.
A Citybus spokeswoman said the fare concession was being scrapped because it had largely been funded by the KCRC's subsidy.
KMB offers similar discounts on some routes to passengers who interchange with KCR services. A Kowloon Motor Bus spokesman said it had no plans to cancel these concessions.
A KCRC spokesman said it had taken many factors into account in deciding whether or not to continue the promotional fare, including the benefits to passengers and the company.
With the KCRC days away from ending its role as a train operator, it yesterday launched a book, A Century of Commitment - the KCRC Story.
Speaking at its launch, KCRC chief executive officer James Blake said: 'The book gives a fascinating account of the history of the KCR over nearly a century, detailing the successes it has achieved, the network it has expanded and the historic moments it has participated in.'
A selection of pictures from the book is on display at East Tsim Sha Tsui station.
The government-owned corporation has also donated more than 70 items of historical interest to the Railway Museum at Tai Po. They include a sketch of the steel bridge at Lo Wu drawn in 1909; a plaque from the KCR British Section head office, which hung in the old Tsim Sha Tsui terminus from 1916 to 1975; and staff rule books from 1946 and 1977.
It is also selling souvenirs, with proceeds to go to the Community Chest charity. The sale will take place at East Tsim Sha Tsui station today and tomorrow from midday to 6pm.