19 June 2000
No general fare adjustment for 2000
The Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) announced today that passenger fares will not be adjusted for 2000.
This is the third year in which the Corporation has decided not to increase passenger fares generally. The last fare increase took place in September 1997.
Announcing this today, the Chairman and Chief Executive of KCRC, Mr K Y Yeung, said the Corporation's Managing Board has taken this commercial decision after considering many factors.
The most important factor is the need to maintain our competitiveness with other modes of public transport, and to protect our market share.
Mr Yeung also announced that East Rail's early morning fare concession will be withdrawn with effect from 1 August 2000.
The scheme was introduced in 1990 to encourage southbound passengers to travel before 7:45am in order to alleviate congestion along the critical section between Tai Wai and Kowloon Tong during the morning peak.About 26,000 passengers, or 3.3% of East Rail passengers, enjoy the concession each day.
Mr Yeung said following the completion of the mid-life train refurbishment programme in December 1999, East Rail's carrying capacity has been increased by 15%.
The average train loading at the most critical section between Tai Wai and Kowloon Tong during the peak hour from 8am to 9am has come down from 70% in 1997 to 57% at present.
Capacity will be further enhanced.The installation of the Automatic Train Protection (ATP) signalling system in 1998, and the arrival of 96 new train cars in 2001 and 2002 will increase East Rail's capacity by another 20%.
The compound growth in total carrying capacity resulting from the refurbishment programme, the ATP system, and new train cars will be 38%," he said.
This means train loading in the critical section of East Rail will remain below 75% over the coming few years, even after absorbing additional passengers as a result of the opening of Ma On Shan Rail and the Sheung Shui to Lok Ma Chau Spur Line.
"And, if required, the ATP system can be upgraded to an Automatic Train Operation (ATO) signalling system which will bring loading further down to 66%.
"With this increase in carrying capacity, there is no need to continue the early morning discount because there is no longer a need to encourage travel before the morning peak hour.
The Corporation carried out a survey in March this year on early morning passengers.It showed that 94% of them travelled early because they needed to go to work or school early, and not because they consciously advanced their travel schedules to save fares.Half of them did not know they were being charged a lower fare for travelling at that time.