DISTRICT board members and Legislative Councillors called yesterday for close monitoring of bus fares charged by Citybus, which has just taken over the franchise for 26 routes from the China Motor Bus company. Speaking at a forum yesterday, Hui Yung-chung, chairman of the Southern District Board, asked the company not to increase fares within the first year of operation. Mr Hui was also concerned that passengers on more profitable routes might be forced to subsidise the less profitable services. The convenor of the Legislative Council's transport panel, Miriam Lau Kin-yee, said the company should look closely at cost control to prevent the increase of fares. Responding to the call, Citybus' divisional manager, Mark Savelli, said it was too early for the company to say whether it would introduce a fare increase in the coming year. He said the company had recorded passenger growth of 20 per cent and had no plans to raise the fare if the growth remained constant. Mr Savelli said the company should have a certain degree of freedom in deciding the fare increases. The Assistant Commissioner for Transport, Dorothy Chan Yuen Tak-fai, said although the Government had not imposed any profit controls on the company, any application for an increase would be considered according to the quality of service, the rate of inflation and the future development of the company. According to a survey conducted by an Ap Lei Chau concern group yesterday, respondents gave generally high marks to the Citybus service, but most thought the company had not provided sufficient information to the public and the buses still did not leave on time.