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Hong Kong rail fares set to rise again
From: South China Morning Post
By: Cannix Yau
Date: 29/03/16

Hong Kong commuters will be digging deeper into their pockets from this summer, as government data paves the way for another rail fare rise of 2.7 per cent, owing to a controversial fare adjustment system.

That comes after the government announced an average wage rise for transport workers of 4.1 per cent for last year.

It will be the seventh straight year that the MTR Corporation has upped prices since the fare adjustment mechanism came into effect in 2010, despite profits of nearly HK$13 billion last year.

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Changes in Hong Kong rail fares unfair? Where’ve you been living?
From: SCMP
By: Jake Van Der Kamp
Date: 30/03/16

Here is a factoid for you. To ride the London Underground from Piccadilly Circus to Leicester Square, one single stop, a trip you could do as fast on foot, will cost you £4.90, or HK$54.20 at current exchange rates.

To ride our Mass Transit Railway from Chai Wan to Tuen Mun, from the furthest southeast point of the network to the furthest northwest, a journey that will take you well over an hour to complete, costs HK$36.50.

Yes, that’s right. The longest trip you can make on the MTR still costs a third less than the lowest fare for a single short hop on the London tube.

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As a public utility, the MTR Corp should hasten its review of the fare adjustment mechanism
From: South China Morning Post
Date: 04/04/16

A 2 to 3 per cent rise in transport fares should not come as too much of a surprise in times of inflation. But against the backdrop of a staggering HK$13 billion in profits and a deal that seemingly guarantees increases every year, the public can be excused for feeling upset. The 2.7 per cent rise in Mass Transit Railway fares is the seventh in as many years. Although the impact is likely to be eased through a package of fare concessions, passengers will still be paying more.

This state of affairs owes much to a widely criticised fare adjustment mechanism. Following the railway merger in 2007, MTR fares were supposed to rise or fall according to a formula that takes into account changes in wages for transport workers, inflation and productivity. But continuous wage increases and strong inflation mean there has never been a fare cut under the formula.

As a listed company, the MTR Corporation is required to maximise profits and be accountable to its shareholders. But being a public utility serving millions of people every day, it also has its social responsibilities to fulfil. The railway giant is setting aside HK$186 million this year for fare concessions, including HK$11 million as a penalty for service disruptions over the year. This is less than last year’s HK$220 million. The amount pales further against its HK$13 billions in profits . With its healthy finances, there is room to do more. Instead of providing periodic discounts to mitigate against the impact of fare increases, the MTR should consider more long-term concessions.

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With 7th consecutive increase in ticket prices looming, Hongkongers want review of controversial MTR fare adjustment mechanism
From: South China Morning Post
By: Cannix Yau
Date: 19/04/16

When the MTR Corporation announced an upcoming fare rise of 2.7 per cent against the backdrop of a staggering HK$13 billion in profits last month, the city’s commuters reacted with exasperation.

The reaction, however, was not so much about the fare rise itself, but the fact that it was the seventh straight year the railway operator had increased ticket prices since the controversial fare adjustment mechanism came into effect in 2009. The continuous rises have been enforced despite the operator reaping lucrative profits every year.

Last year, it incurred greater wrath with an overall fare rise of 4.3 per cent despite raking in HK$15.6 billion in profits in 2014. In 2012, the fare rise hit a record high of 5.4 per cent with the railway company pocketing a surplus of HK$14.7 billion the preceding year. There was a public outcry that the increases far exceeded what the public could afford.

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