Hong Kong south side left in a fog over Aberdeen kaito ferry fare hike
- Ap Lei Chau-Aberdeen ferry service is appreciated, but operators should fully explain reasons for fare hike and offer discounts for the elderly
Connecting Ap Lei Chau and Aberdeen is a unique kaito ferry service. The four-minute ride is a daily service from 6am to 12pm or 7am to 11pm, with a frequency of five to eight minutes. We on the south side of Hong Kong Island often use this service because of its punctuality, spacious deck offering scenic views and the nice manner of the ferry driver. We appreciate the kaito service and would like it to be embraced by all Hongkongers, beyond Aberdeen and the neighbourhood.
The ferry service operator, Eastern Ferry Company, is applying for a fare hike: from HK$2.20 (adult)/HK$1.20 (child below 12) to HK$2.50/HK$1.30 per trip. The last fare hike from HK$2 to HK$2.20 (adult) was in 2016. A 30-cent hike might not seem like too much, but it is still an increase of around 14 per cent. The fare hike consultation is being processed by the Transport Department via its Ap Lei Chau Liaison Team, Southern District Office. However, as users of the Aberdeen kaito service, we had no clue about the fare hike application from the website of Southern District Council nor other public channels on the south side.
In considering the fare hike proposal, we would like to have information related to the passenger flow, the operation cost (whatever can be released), the fuel use, etc. The consultation paper is one-page document that simply asks for the public to reply “support”, “object” or “no comment” to the fare hike proposal. We find it difficult to simply say “support” when no information is provided, and what would be meant by “no comment”?
As for the fare, we would urge Eastern Ferry to offer concessionary fares to senior citizens aged 65 and over as a way to show respect to their lifetime contribution to the community.
We would also like to be informed on how the consultation and the decision on the fare hike is going to be processed, and whether the views of all stakeholders will be taken into account.
April Lai, for Greeners South, Ap Lei Chau