The DAB has pressed the bus companies to provide subsidies and rebates to its customers. DAB Councilor Lau Kwok-Fan says that the Transport Department has already granted the KMB’s monthly pass application. The KMB will price its monthly pass at $800 and provide 50 sales locations, and each commuter can make a maximum of 10 rides daily on the pass. What is worth a mention here is that the current monthly pass has a wider reach than in previous plans for such pass, as the pass is eligible for rides on all KMB day and night buses, jointly operated routes involving the KMB, feeder buses for MTR stations and special buses for horse racing evenings. Buses to and from the border can only be ridden a maximum of two times on this pass in order to prevent people from using this pass to conduct parallel trading.
Lau Kwok-Fan welcomes these newest developments. He points out that those who will be benefited the most are commuters who live in the New Territories and work on Hong Kong Island and who need to change buses often. These commuters are concentrated in North District, Yuen Long and Tuen Mun, and their bus fees normally run to close to or over $1000 a month. The KMB monthly pass will provide a discount of close to 30% for these commuters which does represent significant savings. Lau Kwok-Fan adds that the newest Policy Address of the HKSAR government says that it needs to implement a plan for public transit subsidies. The cost of the monthly pass can be cut by a further $100 to $700 a month, which will be more competitive in the public transit industry.
In regards to the timeframe for implementation of the KMB monthly pass, Lau Kwok-Fan says that if the Octopus company can complete its technical integration with the passes quickly, the passes can be operational as soon as next month. “Currently most of the preparations are in place, only requiring the integration with the Octopus. If the Octopus Company can finish this work in mid-December, the monthly passes can be purchased by the public in January 2018. But the Octopus Company says that it may not complete the integration process in short time as the Christmas and New Year holidays are coming up. For such a major company as the Octopus to say that it needs to delay such work because of the holidays isn’t really ideal.” Lau requested the Octopus Company to finish its technical integration with the KMB monthly passes as soon as possible in order that residents can benefit from the passes quickly.
In regards to the future development plans for monthly bus pass, Lau hopes that other bus companies will follow the example of the KMB and provide more and different subsidies and passes to meet the different needs of different residents. For example, different passes for cross-harbour routes and non-cross-harbour routes. Thus they can cut down on the transit burden of residents.
Media Inquiries: DAB Legislative Councilor Lau Kwok-Fan (9782 7408)