I refer to Albert Cheng's column ("Fare's fair: property development profits and bus fare rises cannot go together", March, 1), which contains misinformation that needs to be clarified.
As stated in the response by KMB deputy managing director, Evan Auyang ("Government has not supplied land to KMB at below-market rates", February 26) to Mr Cheng's column ("Government must stop private firms getting a free ride on public money", February 22), the plots of land owned by KMB fall into three categories:
- Acquired by KMB through open tender or at public auction at market prices;
- Acquired under "private treaty grant", according to the terms of which KMB is required to pay market prices to the government with land use restricted to specific purposes; and
- Land rented from the government through "short-term tenancy", where the land title is held by the government and KMB is required to pay the market rent to the government.
All the sites of former depots redeveloped by Transport International Holdings Limited, the holding company of KMB, come under the first category, and are therefore not provided by the government nor received any subsidies/discounts.
The plots of land that Mr Cheng regards as "zoned for industrial purposes" at the time when "they were bought by KMB" belong to the second category.
As KMB has never changed the use of any plots of land under this category, the accusation that KMB has converted "these plots of land from industrial to commercial/residential" use is patently untrue.
KMB has repeatedly clarified its relationship with RoadShow. Being a listed company, independent of KMB, RoadShow is just one of KMB's advertising agencies, while KMB is, by the same token, just one of RoadShow's clients.
RoadShow is the advertising agent of several outdoor advertising panels, and it also has various business activities on the mainland.
It should be noted that, over the past few years, KMB's various advertising platforms (including bus body, in-bus, bus shelter and bus TV) have generated more than HK$100 million per year, all duly booked under KMB's account as non-fare income.
However, this amount is relatively small, compared to KMB's fare revenue of about HK$6 billion per annum.
Osbert Kwan, head of corporate communication department, KMB