Kowloon Motor Bus, the city’s largest franchise bus operator, on Thursday applied for an 8.5 per cent fare rise for next year.
The proposed increase would be higher than this year’s inflation, which was between 1.6 per cent and 6.1 per cent. It will require approval from the government.
KMB posted a loss of HK$15.2 million in the first half of this year. It said it hoped the fare increase could help it break even by the end of next year.
The company has been struggling with a 40 per cent increase in fuel prices and a 9 per cent rise in wages over the past two years.
It also said a substantial number of passengers – about 500,000 daily – had shifted to using the MTR and railways which have been expanded in recent years.
Despite efforts to rearrange duplicated bus routes with low patronage, progress has been very slow, the bus company said on Thursday.
At present, over 70 per cent of KMB’s 400 bus routes consistently suffer from low patronage.
The last time KMB raised its fares – by 3.6 per cent – was in May last year, but that was not enough to cover the overheads, the company said.