Transport minister Lam Sai-hung on Wednesday played down concerns that Hong Kong's bus operators will soon be asking for further fare increases, saying the city's return to normal after the Covid pandemic means they will be carrying more passengers.
The official made the comment a day after five franchised bus companies were given the go-ahead to push up fares by between 3.9 and 7 percent.
On an RTHK programme, Lam said circumstances have changed since the companies asked for bigger increases last year.
"At the time, the outlook, how long the path to normalcy would be, or how big of an impact the pandemic would have, were unknown," Lam said.
"Now that we are returning to normal, tourists are coming back and everyone is returning to work and school. So in terms of revenue, I believe the situation will be much better than in the previous two years."
The minister also said the government will proactively work with operators to boost their non-fare revenue.
Letting other commercial vehicles use charging devices at bus depots, or installing vending machines and smart lockers at bus stops could be some ways, he added.
DAB lawmaker Ben Chan told the same programme that officials should consider boosting non-fare revenue with park-and-ride facilities, which offer concessions to encourage motorists to park their vehicles near mass transit hubs and take public transport to travel to urban areas.
"The park-and-ride facilities could collect parking fees, and also have business income from, for example, renting out spaces for restaurants and shops. These will help with the operation of bus companies," Chan said.
Chan, who also chairs the Legislative Council's transport panel, added that non-fare revenue should make up 15 to 20 percent of the operators' income.