The MTR Corporation said on Monday that ticket prices will remain at the current levels this year, and the 3.8 percent fare rebate will also be extended till the beginning of next year.
The company has to freeze its fares based on a price setting formula agreed with the government in 2007 which takes into account the year-on-year inflation rate and the wage index for transport workers.
This is the third straight year where the railway operator has spared passengers a fare hike, even after it was hit hard by the recent Covid-19 outbreak.
“In the fifth wave of the pandemic, the public has been focused on fighting the pandemic which drastically reduced their commutes and substantially affected commercial activities in many sectors, resulting in a significant drop of MTR patronage by over 50 percent,” the corporation's commercial director Jeny Yeung said in a statement.
“As part of the Hong Kong community, MTR is dedicated to ride out the tough times together with the public through different measures and promotions,” she said.
However, the MTR stressed that price increases that were postponed over the past few years will be added back on to ticket prices in the future.
The rail giant said its 3.8 percent rebate is initially due to end in June, but will be extended for half a year until January 1 next year, along with other fare concessions and promotions.
In total, MTR says the concessions and promotions will cost the company HK$2.8 billion.
But Roundtable lawmaker Michael Tien believed the rail giant should do more, such as bringing back a 20 percent fare rebate that ended the year before.
“I think it is something that MTR can afford to do. Actually, their financials this year are not that bad, because of a lot of property-related revenues that’s coming their way.” he told RTHK.
“They should actually reach out in times of need for Hong Kong to help us out a little bit. So in addition to having no fare increase, I think they should give out three months of 20 percent off [fare rebate] as a contributing gesture.”