High ticket costs make travel expensive for them and their carers, says lobby group The Equal Opportunities Commission has urged the government and transport operators to work out a scheme to provide concessionary fares for people with disabilities. About 30 members of an alliance of people with disabilities advocating concessionary public transport fares yesterday met commission chairman Raymond Tang Yee-bong to seek his support in getting half-price fares. Coalition member Chan Kwok-kwong, a manager for the Hong Kong Blind Union, said high fares and the necessity for disabled people to have carers travel with them made going anywhere expensive, particularly for those living on welfare. 'Many countries around the world provide half-price fares to the disabled - this is not discrimination,' he said. 'The law is there to help disabled people, not harm them.' Mr Chan was responding to concerns expressed that granting concessions to only people with certain disabilities would amount to discrimination against those with other disabilities. Transport companies have said the broad definition of disabilities under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance made it difficult to estimate how many people would benefit from such a concession. Mr Tang yesterday said access to public transport was a 'basic and important right for everyone'. 'I understand this is a particular issue affecting many people with disabilities, one which has remained unresolved for several years,' he said. 'The commission supports any effort to help people with disabilities overcome barriers which hinder that access, and we urge the government and public transport operators to consider viable solutions.' In a paper to the Legislative Council, the commission said any scheme would have to be 'properly formulated and supported by appropriate data' to ensure that granting concessions to a particular group of people with disabilities did not inadvertently discriminate against others. It suggested one idea, that concessions or free travel could be offered to carers of people with disabilities, who travel with them. That way, only those people with disabilities in need of a carer would benefit and the scheme could be formed without reference to specific types of disabilities. Environment, Transport and Works Bureau spokeswoman Joyce Yip Wai-ching said the government had always 'felt for people with disabilities' and would liaise with transport operators on fares. 'Of course, we can try to persuade transport operators to give concessions, but they have to have regard to their financial and operating conditions,' she said. 'They fear the definition of disability may be very loose and the group may be too many. They always want us to supply them with more concrete figures.' Mr Chan said the alliance would continue lobbying after the Lunar New Year and was setting up meetings with Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works Sarah Liao Sau-tung. A Legco subcommittee to study the transport needs of the disabled and concessionary fares for them is due to meet on Monday.