Hong Kong commuters will be digging deeper into their pockets from this summer, as government data paves the way for another rail fare increase of 2.7 per cent based on a controversial fare adjustment system. The hike comes after the government announced an annual wage rise for transport workers of 4.1 per cent last December. It will be the seventh straight year that the MTR Corporation has upped fares since the adjustment mechanism came into effect in 2009, despite profits of nearly HK$13 billion last year. The rise, expected to take effect mid-year, comes after the government last week requested MTR Corp complete its review of the mechanism by next year – a year earlier than scheduled – amid growing calls to rein in fare hikes. Announcing the upcoming fare increase yesterday, the MTR Corp said it would work out and announce the actual details of new fares and the concession package at a later time. The increase is calculated from the average of the annual inflation rate for December, which was 2.5 per cent, and the yearly increase in wages for the transport sector, which was 4.1 per cent. A productivity factor – 0.6 of a percentage point – is deducted. The mechanism was last changed in 2013, when the reduction for productivity was raised from 0.1 to 0.6 of a percentage point. Fare rises are also capped at the rate of increase in median monthly household income, which was 3.3 per cent last year. According to a statement last week, the government, a major shareholder in MTR Corp, expected the revised mechanism to respond to “public concern about the corporation’s profitability and passengers’ affordability” and take effect next year. The railway giant, grappling with staggering cost overruns and repeated delays to the high-speed rail link to Guangdong, said it would give its response in a few months’ time. Pressure has been mounting for the city’s sole railway operator to review the mechanism, which has been widely criticised as unfair and as safeguarding the listed company’s profits rather than the interests of the community. Lawmaker Ben Chan Han-pan, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, called for the railway operator to shelve the fare rise, calling it “unacceptable”. “MTR Corp shouldn’t maximise its profits without regard to public interests,” said Chan. “It should fulfil its social responsibility to share the financial burden of the community.” Democratic Party lawmaker Wu Chi-wai also called for the government to subsidise commuters with the dividend of about HK$4.5 billion it received from MTR Corp as a major shareholder. MTR Corp set aside HK$186 million this year, including HK$11 million for eight disruptions lasting 31 minutes or longer last year, so customers could enjoy the 10 per cent same-day second-trip discount. The amount fell from HK$220 million last year.