18 June 2001
New fare package for KCRC
 
The Managing Board of the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) has decided in principle on a new fare package to take effect from 1 September 2001.
A spokesman for the KCRC pointed out that although the Corporation’s policy was to review fares annually, fares have been frozen for the past three years.
"We have continued to be profitable, but all profits have been ploughed back for improving existing services and for financing new railway projects.
"Over the past five years, we have invested $6.4 billion to improve services. Major improvement programmes include the refurbishment of all East Rail trains, the installation of an automatic train protection signaling system, installation of noise barriers, the purchase of the Ktt through train and new Light Rail vehicles, renovation of Hung Hom Station and improvements to other stations and facilities.
"Looking forward to the next three years, we will spend another $3.8 billion on service improvements. These include the purchase of additional train cars, extension of the Light Rail network and grade separation at key junctions, development of Kowloon Tong station concourse, the installation of more noise barriers, and the replacement of some locomotives," the spokesman said.
In addition to improving existing services, the Corporation is investing a total of $17.2 billion from its past and future accumulated profits for the construction of West Rail and the East Rail extensions. It will also have to borrow a total of $18.6 billion to help finance these new projects.
Key features of the new fare package for Octopus users are:

East Rail domestic:
• For 87% of all passengers, the increase will be 20 cents or less,
• No one will face an increase of more than 40 cents,
• Fares are up to 30% ($3 and 80 cents) cheaper than buses for comparable journeys, but up to 40 minutes faster. East Rail will still be cheaper than buses by up to 28% ($3 and 40 cents) after the fare adjustment.

East Rail cross-boundary:
• For 85% of all passengers, the increase will be between 70 cents and 80 cents,
• No one will face an increase of more than $1,
• Fares are now up to 73% ($51 and 20 cents) cheaper than buses, and faster by up to 26 minutes. Cross-boundary services will still be cheaper than buses by up to 72% ($50 and 50 cents) after the fare adjustment.

Light Rail:
• For 99% of all passengers, the increase will be 20 cents or less,
• No one will face an increase of more than 30 cents.

Bus :
• or 86% of all passengers, the increase will be 20 cents or less,
• There will be no fare increase for some passengers,
• No one will face an increase of more than 30 cents.

The spokesman added that the average increase in fares for all passengers was 29 cents, or 3.1%.
"For the vast majority of our passengers – 86% for KCR bus, 87% for East Rail domestic, and 99% for Light Rail – the increase will be 20 cents or less.
"The Corporation had arrived at the new fare package after considering all relevant factors, including competitiveness and affordability.
"KCRC is much cheaper than its competitors, and will still be after the increase.
"And between 1990 and 2000, the wage index of Hong Kong’s lowest 50% income earners had grown by 102%, while our fares had gone up by 55.5%.
"We have been exercising our power of fare autonomy in a socially responsible manner, and will continue to do so," he said.