Hong Kong’s Airport Express MTR line is set to increase fares by 10.3 percent in June – the first fee hike since it came into operation in 1998.

According to a Tuesday Legislative Council document, fares for journeys between the airport and the city proper, paid using an Octopus card, are set to rise by HK$5-HK$10.

Airport Express train. File photo: Baycrest via Wikimedia Commons.

From June onwards, a trip from Hong Kong station to the airport, paid using Octopus, will cost HK$110. Trips from Kowloon and Tsing Yi to the airport will cost HK$100 and HK$65 respectively.

Fares for adult single-journey tickets will be raised by between HK$10 and HK$15, while fares for 30-day round-trip tickets will go up by between HK$15 and HK$30.

See also: Commuters appalled over seventh MTR fare increase in as many years

The MTR has never adjusted fees for the Airport Express, except in 2000 and 2001 when it cancelled discounts introduced at the time of the line’s opening.

It originally notified the legislature of its plans to adjust fares last month. “[The MTR] will make reference to the results of passenger surveys when adjusting the fares of Airport Express,” it wrote.

“[The MTR] will also consider factors including the overall economic conditions, growth in number of tourists and competitiveness of the Airport Express.”

Fare adjustment mechanism

The Airport Express does not come under the purview of the MTR’s fare adjustment mechanism, which guides ticket prices for all of its other train lines.

Hong Kong International Airport. File photo: GovHK.

Under the mechanism, the MTR can adjust fares annually in proportion to the rate of inflation in Hong Kong. Critics argue that the arrangement has led to yearly increases in fares.

“According to the operating agreement [between the MTR and the Hong Kong government], the Airport Express is not a public transport mode for daily commuting, but mainly for business and travelling,” the company told the Legislative Council last month.

Elson Tong

Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.