Transport and logistics

Hong Kong’s biggest bus operator proposes HK$800 monthly pass

KMB claims proposal came about in response to passenger requests

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 September, 2017, 8:15am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 September, 2017, 11:30am

Hong Kong’s biggest bus operator has proposed launching a monthly pass for about HK$800, but the plan immediately elicited criticism from a lawmaker who said the price would be too expensive.

Michael Tien Puk-sun, chairman of the Legislative Council railways subcommittee, said the monthly bus fee would be more competitive if it were set at HK$700.

But fellow pro-establishment lawmaker Lau Kwok-fan said the pass could offer a discount of about 30 per cent to residents from North District, Yuen Long and Tuen Mun, some of whom he claimed spent more than HK$1,000 a month on commuting.

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KMB said on Friday that the proposal had been submitted to the Transport Department days earlier.

“KMB will continue to discuss details of the arrangement with the Transport Department,” the bus operator said in a statement. “The plan is pending approval from the department and will be announced in due course.”

The plan came about, KMB added, “in response to passengers’ requests”.

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A spokeswoman for the department said it had received the proposal from KMB on Wednesday.

Neither KMB nor the department disclosed the proposed fee. But Lau, who is familiar with the plan’s details, revealed the price could be about HK$800 per month.

Under the proposal, pass holders would be able take all KMB routes except those that run overnight. Also excluded would be connections to MTR stations and border control points as well as trips to racecourses on public holidays.

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Pass usage would be capped daily, but Lau said the limit should be able to meet most passengers’ needs in a typical day. He noted that, under the submitted plan, pass holders could still enjoy some degree of discount even if they exceeded the maximum number of rides.

“People who have to take interchanging buses or those residing in the New Territories and working on Hong Kong Island would benefit the most,” the lawmaker said.

While only one type of pass would be rolled out at first, he believed the bus operator should offer more types of monthly passes for passengers with different needs.