Octopus holders to get 10pc discount on second MTR trip each day
Second MTR trip each day will qualify, but some West Rail Line users may lose out
Octopus card holders will get a 10 per cent discount on their second trip of the day on the MTR from the end of the month.
But district councillors say the scheme is unfair as it will not benefit many passengers on the West Rail Line.
The concession, starting on New Year's Eve, is part of a HK$670 million rebate package offered by the MTR Corporation to offset fare rises in June.
It will replace a "make 10 journeys, get one free" deal, which cost the MTR Corp about HK$230 million from June to October.
The new promotion applies to every second journey taken on the "same transport mode" on the same day. That means if commuters make the first trip on the Light Rail, they must travel on the same network for the second trip to benefit.
The transport mode changes if the commuter exits the ticketing gates to transfer to another system. MTR buses and the Light Rail, which serve Yuen Long, Tin Shui Wai and Tuen Mun, are different modes from the main railway network.
The discount is available daily and is applied automatically when an Octopus card is scanned for the second trip. It is unlike the previous deal, which is valid only on weekdays and requires the passenger to get a free single-trip ticket from a station counter.
But the concession applies only if the trip is "fare-deducting". It means many passengers who do a round trip switching between the West Rail Line and the Light Rail Line - where the connecting journey is free, but which are considered different "transport modes" - will not benefit.
Because the system records different "transport modes", the discount does not apply.
Yuen Long district councillor Kwong Chun-yu, of the Democratic Party, said the promotion was unfair to residents in the western New Territories. "The MTR always offers some grandiose concessions that do little to help the grass roots," he said.
"It's been unfair from day one that West Rail trips are more expensive than those on the East Rail. Now it's even more unfair."
Kwong's colleague in Tuen Mun, Ho Hang-mui, also criticised the scheme. She said the connecting Light Rail trip should be considered a part of the West Rail journey.
MTR's general manager for marketing and planning, Eddie So Chung-tat, said system limitations made it impossible to integrate the lines.