KMB asks for 10 times official rate

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 November, 2010, 12:00am

A fare rise of 8.6 per cent that Kowloon Motor Bus applied for in July - which if granted would take effect from January 1 - is almost 10 times the amount a government formula shows to be justifiable.

Deputy Secretary for Transport and Housing Rebecca Pun Ting-ting told a meeting yesterday of the Legislative Council transport panel that the fare adjustment formula, taking into account wage and composite consumer price indices for June, gave a figure of 0.9 per cent.

But she said this was not the final figure and was not the only factor the government would consider while assessing the application - soaring fuel prices would be another.

In 2008, KMB applied for a nine per cent rise in fares when the government's indicated rate was 4.67 per cent. Eventually, the administration approved a 4.5 per cent increase.

The company and its sister, the Long Win Bus Company, submitted applications on July 30 this year for fare increases of 8.6 per cent and 7.4 per cent respectively. KMB managing director Edmond Ho Tat-man said the fare increase was necessary because of soaring fuel prices, the purchase of 538 new buses, pay rises and increases in operating costs.