New World First Bus

Most users of public transport find fares expensive, survey finds

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 December, 2008, 12:00am

Most residents surveyed believe transport fares are expensive and disagree with bus operators' moves to cancel a range of special discounts.

Only 9.5 per cent of respondents said the city's public transport fares were inexpensive, while 77.6 per cent said they were expensive.

Views for the study were collected from 861 people between Thursday and Sunday by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

Asked about the scrapping of special discounts by bus operators, 76 per cent said they disagreed with the change, 11.4 per cent did not care and 12.6 per cent had no opinion.

Kowloon Motor Bus, Long Win, New World First Bus and its wholly-owned subsidiary Citybus said last week they were scrapping concessions, which included a HK$2 flat fare on Sundays and public holidays for elderly passengers, and same-day- return discounts, due to rising fuel, labour and maintenance costs.

The change means 228,000 passengers will pay 5 to 10 per cent more a day when the same-day-return benefit is cancelled - on February 19 for routes run by individual operators, and July 1 for jointly run cross- harbour routes.

And 295,000 elderly passengers now paying a flat rate of HK$2, even on trips costing HK$20 on Sundays and public holidays, will pay the half fare they are charged on other days. More than 79 per cent of respondents said they supported calls for bus operators to fulfil their corporate social responsibility and continue with the discounts.

Another 7 per cent said they did not support such calls, while 13.6 per cent had no opinion. Asked for their top consideration for choosing means of public transport, 32.4 per cent picked 'convenience', 30.1 per cent said 'discounts' and 20.6 per cent said 'the cheapest'.

The party called on bus operators to extend special discounts to help residents weather the economic downturn.

It suggested the government ask operators to offer more discounts.