THE Mass Transit Railway's rush hour surcharge will be scrapped for a four-month trial period from next month, it was confirmed yesterday. Concessionary fares for student travellers will also be dropped in the second two months to discourage about 7,000 student passengers who normally travel between 8 am and 9 am every day. The change is to allow the MTR to assess the adult ridership during the last two months and compare that with data in the first two months when students will still pay cheaper fares. The company will then decide if the surcharge should be dropped permanently. The scheme was disclosed as the MTR announced an average fare increase of nine per cent from next month. The surcharge - of between 50 and 80 cents a trip - was designed to divert passengers who might otherwise use the heavily congested Nathan Road corridor trains, to use the Eastern crossing or to travel outside the rush hours. About 95 per cent of the 74,000 passengers currently riding the corridor in the morning rush hour are expected to benefit from the scrapping of the surcharge. The remainder are student passengers. MTR planning and marketing director Mr Rob Noble estimated the nine per cent overall fare rise would generate an extra fare revenue of $300 million a year. The new fares will cost adult passengers 30 to 80 cents more per trip, student passengers 30 to 40 cents more, and senior passengers 50 cents more by using common stored value tickets. Kowloon Canton Railway and Light Rail Transit also announced new fares yesterday for next month, up by 7.3 per cent and 9.7 per cent respectively. KCR rides will cost adult passengers $1 to $2 more per trip, children and elderly passengers 50 cents to $1 more, while LRT rides will cost adults 30 to 40 cents more, and children and elderly 10 to 20 cents more. Legislative Council transport panel members were concerned about the rise of up to 17 per cent for short MTR trips and the 9.7 per cent rise for LRT rides. MTR chairman Mr Hamish Matthews argued that short trip fares were last raised in 1991 and the impact of the new fares would be minimal because only 15 per cent of passengers used single trip tickets. KCR chairman Mr Kevin Hyde said the company did not intend to raise LRT fares more than the inflation level.