THAT last bastion of things you can do for a dollar - ride a Hong Kong tram - was last night put under threat by a recommendation from the Transport Advisory Committee (TAC) to increase fares by 20 cents. And not only did committee chairman Leung Chi-keung fully support Hong Kong Tramway's (HKT) fare rise application, he urged other transport operators to follow its lead in beating inflation. The committee fully endorsed HKT's application to increase fares by 20 per cent, a move which also will push children's fares up 10 cents to 60 cents. It noted a series of improvements, including new shelters and seats and a half-fare concessionary scheme for the elderly, and the fact that it was significantly lower than the estimated 36.4 per cent rise in inflation since the last increase in August 1990. ''Managing to keep operating costs down to 15 per cent despite inflation is quite an achievement and one that I hope that other transport operators can follow,'' Professor Leung said. But regular tram riders were not impressed. ''This tram is a life-line for people like us in such an expensive place like Hong Kong. Every little bit counts for us,'' said Consuela Mendoza, a domestic helper in Central, one of thousands of maids who ride the trams. The rise, still to be ratified by the Executive Council, is scheduled to take effect in December. Increases are planned too for taxi fares on Lantau. They rise by 12.5 per cent in January following TAC granting just half of the 25 per cent rise sought by the Lantau Taxi Association. Flag-falls will rise $1 to $9, with an additional 90 cents for every 200 metres - a rise of 10 cents. The committee also backed dramatic police proposals to increase vehicle towing and storage fees for the first time in 10 years to help in the force's battle against illegal parking. Towing fees will now be $350 for any vehicle under 5.5-tonnes - up from $110 per tow while storage fees will rise a whopping $210 to $245. ''Low charges defeat the aim of deterring drivers from parking illegally or result in abusing the use of police manpower to tow broken-down vehicles away,'' the committee said.