No fare rise

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 February, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 February, 1994, 12:00am

THE overcrowding of the MTR at rush hours is something we in Hong Kong live with. Yet how ironic that, as the MTRC seeks solutions to ensure safety, the Legislative Council is considering a fare increase for the Kowloon Motor Bus Company.

For many, the only alternative to the Nathan Road corridor and the Quarry Bay interchange is to take the bus to work. The KMB request for a 19.6 per cent fare increase seems extreme, and may make crowds on the trains worse.

At the same time, we hear that the KCR will not raise fares because it is re-investing profits in its services.

However, the KMB's 1993 profit to January (after taxation attributable to shareholders) was $1,566,984,000.

This money could have been used to improve services rather than increase the money that will come out of passengers' pockets. On many routes, the KMB's fare is more expensive than the alternative train journey for workers at rush hours. And the 1.2 per cent decline in the number of passengers carried in the first six months of 1993 (compared with the same period in 1992) was attributed to a fare increase of 11.2 per cent in April 1993. It will be interesting to see the KMB's final results in April.

If the Legislative Council is serious about safety on the MTR and wants to ease congestion, it should not allow increased fares on the buses.

Ask the KMB to focus on serving Hong Kong; not play the stock market. Ask it to show commitment to Hong Kong by re-investing in Hong Kong.