MTR fare rise last straw for Tung Chung folk

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 April, 2010, 12:00am

Tung Chung residents, angry at planned MTR fare rises and their exclusion from a fare subsidy, took their grievances to the Legislative Council yesterday. The lack of free feeder bus services, combined with the distance to the city, put a huge financial burden on residents of public housing estates, they said.

A spokesman for the group Tung Chung Livelihood Monitor, Islands district councillor Tang Ka-piu, spelled out their concerns at Legco. Tuen Mun and Tin Shui Wai residents enjoyed discounts through a HK$470 monthly pass, but Tung Chung residents had no such privilege, Tang said.

'The monthly pass is not available to us,' he said. 'We don't know why. While residents from other districts enjoy free feeder bus services that take passengers from their homes to the stations, Yat Tung Estate residents need to pay HK$3.10 or HK$2.10 using the Octopus card for a feeder journey.'

Tang accused the MTR Corp of depriving residents of affordable transport. 'The Social Welfare Department announced in March that Yat Tung Estate has the fourth highest rate of dole recipients in the city,' he said. 'The fare rise will be the last straw, destroying the livelihood of residents.'

A trip from Tung Chung to Hung Hom using an Octopus card is HK$18.20, including the feeder bus. If a Tuen Mun or Tin Shui Wai resident works 22 days in a month and uses the HK$470 pass, each journey costs only HK$10.70.

The MTR Corp will increase fares by an average 2 per cent in June, though some could rise as much as 5 per cent.