Democratic Party protesters yesterday occupied a section of track at Sha Tin railway station to demand a 10 per cent reduction in transport fares. Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) managing director John Chan Cho-chak responded by saying there was no room for a fare cut because operating costs had been rising since 1997. He said cutting fares provided no real remedy to ease the public's burden and was too one-dimensional. 'A uniform and direct fare cut is not the best cure to solve the problem because it is too simple and it means forcing our company to reduce our profits to help many of those who actually don't need assistance,' Mr Chan said. Traffic was not affected during yesterday's protest as the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) cordoned off an emergency cargo track for the 20 party members taking part in the protest. Carrying banners and chanting slogans, the protesters handed a petition to a KCRC representative after more than 15 KCRC staff and several policemen were sent to the station to help with crowd control. The protesters also urged other transport operators, such as the Mass Transit Railway Corporation and the KMB, to reduce their fares, and legislator Andrew Cheng Kar-foo, the Democratic Party's transport policy spokesman, asked the government to set up a fair and objective mechanism for determining transport fares, such as taking the Consumer Price Index into account. 'The Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, Sarah Liao Sau-tung, has demanded various transport operators cut fares since she came into office,' Mr Cheng said. 'But so far, nothing has been achieved.' The Democratic Party will raise its concerns today with Dr Liao, and the issue will be discussed at Wednesday's Legco meeting. In response to the protest, a government spokesman said reducing fares and offering concessions was up to individual operators. He said there was already a good mechanism in place to review fares, but added: 'In light of the present economic situation, we agree it is necessary to examine the arrangements for fare reviews, and a study is under way.' Mr Chan said KMB's bus to bus interchange concession scheme already covered half of its 400 routes. He said talks were under way with other transport operators about possible co-operation, but no timetable had been set.