Workers for Hongkong & Yaumati Ferry (HYF) yesterday backed the company's pledge for better service after it retained operation rights to some profitable outlying island routes. The Hong Kong Ferry Group Companies Employees General Union insisted current ferry services were acceptable though they were always trying to improve them. 'We are the ones who interact with passengers all the time, so we know what they want,' chairman Fung Sing-foa said. He said the call for more fast-ferry services was voiced by only a small section of commuters. 'Clearly, the company's new arrangement will go a long way to address the needs of those who are prepared to pay more for shorter journey time without angering other commuters who prefer cheaper fares,' Mr Fung said. But the loss of Lamma ferry services and the indication the firm may not bid to keep all seven of its cross-harbour and new town passenger franchise routes has raised job loss fears. Hong Kong & Kowloon Ferry, which won a three-year licence to operate the two routes to Lamma starting next April, only has plans to recruit 50 new staff, though it will give preference to HYF employees. There are about 100 HYF staff working on the routes from Central to Yung Shue Wan and Sok Kwu Wan. Mr Fung said the Government's retraining scheme would not be viable for some because they would find it hard to pick up new skills. Many colleagues had expressed their reluctance to join the new operator, fearing they would lose out on retirement money, he said.