The Transport and Logistics Bureau said on Wednesday that it has received applications from franchised bus companies to raise fares by around 10 to 20 percent.
The bureau said the applications were submitted in the first half of the year, adding that the companies had cited reasons such as an increase in fuel cost and wages, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic which affected patronage.
Citybus and New World First Bus said commodity prices have surged, and after a three-year salary freeze, the companies increased wages by 4.5 percent to help employees cope with inflation.
The companies said there’s a need to raise fares to balance their books.
KMB and Long Win Bus, meanwhile, said they are facing a very difficult business environment and have been dragged down further by its loss-making airport routes.
Last year, the four franchised companies hiked fares by between 5.8 to 12 percent.
One woman told RTHK the proposed fare hikes would add to people's burden, while another person said he doesn't think it's a big problem because there are other means of transportation available.
Roundtable lawmaker Michael Tien says he's against the increases, saying bus companies should not raise fares beyond the level of inflation.
Tien said one of the reasons why business was hit was the government’s policy to develop the MTR network. He called on the government, as the major shareholder of the railway company, to use the dividend it receives to subsidise franchised bus companies, instead of asking the public to pay higher fares.
Last updated: 2022-11-23 HKT 17:33