Recently, the government has essentially signed a new 10 year franchise agreement with the Kowloon Motor Bus Company (KMB). In signing this franchise agreement, the KMB had committed itself to providing more concessions to passengers, such as providing a 50% discount on the return journey to students on long-distance routes, covering transfers to the tram system, and installing Wi-Fi on buses. The YoungDAB has expressed its disappointment at the narrow terms of these subsidies and advises to the government to review the KMB’s plan in half a year’s time. We also request the KMB and other public transport operators to provide more integrated interchange concessions in order to ease the financial burden on students who have to take long-distance buses to receive an education.
The YoungDAB feels that the concession the KMB provided to full-day students that restrict it to long distance buses with fares of $12 or above, and restricting the concession to only the return journey, restricts the number of people who benefit from this concession. Add to this the fact that most students are assigned to schools based on their residence, and the Education Bureau also assigns school spots based on school networks, for students who attend these schools there is a very large chance that they will not use long distance buses, thus the vast majority of students will not get to use this concession. Therefore, the YoungDAB hopes that the government will review the plan of the KMB in half a year. Regarding the consolidation of fares between long distance and shuttle bus services, the YoungDAB feels that the KMB did not listen to the request of Hong Kong people that the fares should be based on distance. Regarding the suggestion of both the KMB and Hong Kong Tramways to provide the interchange concession between the two systems for 23 cross-harbour bus routes where passengers can take the trams for free, the YoungDAB feels that the KMB wanted to make itself look good by advertising this concession and that its real purpose was to attract passengers and customers.
The YoungDAB firmly believes that a balance can be maintained between the demands of social responsibility and profit. The KMB enjoyed an excellent year in profits last year, earning approximately $600 million in net profits, and therefore the YoungDAB feels that the KMB should use some of these profits to benefit students. The YoungDAB also requests the KMB and other public transport operators to provide more integrated interchange concessions in order to ease the financial burden on students.
Chairperson of the YoungDAB Mr. Ngan Man-Yu pointed out that the KMB concession to students was only “half a bucket of water” as it only gave a half price discount on long distance routes. He feels that the KMB should provide a more complete concession rate to students in order to ease their financial burden. As a major public transit operator, the KMB should take up its corporate responsibility and provide young people with appropriate concessions.
News Contact: YoungDAB chairperson and Kwun Tong District Councilor Mr. Ngan Man-Yu (6600-2511)