Lawmakers have called on the government to raise its performance requirements for the MTR and KCRC after the proposed merger of the two utilities' rail operations. At a meeting yesterday of the Legislative Council bills committee on the rail merger, lawmakers demanded that performance requirements under government 'operating agreements' with the KCRC and MTR be toughened to match the corporations' own service pledges. The agreements stipulate nine performance requirements, by rating criteria such as train punctuality and the reliability of equipment including ticketing machines. The government-controlled corporations say their own requirements in all nine categories meet or exceed those in the operating agreements. For example, in the case of train punctuality, at least 99 per cent of KCRC and MTR trains in any month are delayed by no more than two minutes, exceeding the government's performance requirement of 98 per cent by one percentage point. The corporations said tougher standards would be unfair, and MTR operations director Andrew McCusker said there were limits to what its equipment could achieve. Democrat Andrew Cheng Kar-foo asked: 'If you have been doing it [meeting higher standards] all along, why fear making it a formal requirement?' The Environment, Transport and Works Bureau said the government would discuss the proposal with the two corporations.