Press Releases in Hong Kong

Transport chief: MTR to resolve fare irregularities

HONG KONG – Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan on Wednesday said MTR fare anomalies arising from the existing railway network will be resolved in phases according to the annual fare adjustment mechanism.

Replying to a lawmaker's questions at the Legislative Council, Chan said that the fare anomalies accounted for less than two percent of over 4,000 trip combinations in the entire MTR network.

LegCo member Elizabeth Quat Pui-fan had queried Chan after members of the public noticed that the fares for some shorter journeys on the Tuen Ma Line were higher than those for longer journeys while others noticed “quite a great variance in the fares for different journeys of comparable lengths.”

Chan explained that the full commissioning of the Tuen Ma Line connects a number of existing railway lines, including the original West Rail Line and Ma On Shan Line, as well as the East Rail Line.

Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan said the MTR Corporation has been carefully handling the situation by adjusting the fare according to the annual fare adjustment mechanism

The fares of these lines were already determined before the rail merger. In particular, the fare structure of the East Rail Line, which started operations as early as in 1910, is influenced by historical factors and involves domestic and cross-boundary services, making it difficult to be directly compared with other railway lines, Chan said.

Therefore, in the MTR heavy rail system, the fares of stations which run through the East Rail Line and the original West Rail Line and Ma On Shan Line will be influenced by fares of these lines, he said.

The fares of new railway lines, like the Tuen Ma Line, will in turn be bounded by the fare structure of the existing railway network, resulting in fare anomalies for some trips, he added.

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Chan said the MTR Corporation has been carefully handling the situation by adjusting the fare according to the annual fare adjustment mechanism. 

Given the railway network’s improved connectivity and increasing complexity, fare adjustments involving specific Tuen Ma Line routes or stations must be done prudently as it may affect other railway lines and cause further anomalies.

Subject to the annual fare adjustment rate based on the mechanism, it is expected that the MTRC would take several years to resolve the anomalies, he added.

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Currently, the MTRC offers concessionary tickets and fare discounts to reduce the impact of fare anomalies. In collaboration with green minibuses and franchised buses, special interchange discounts and new interchange routes have also been introduced, Chan noted.