Five franchised bus operators will increase fares by between 3.9 per cent and 7 per cent on June 18, the Executive Council decided on Tuesday.

Buses in Hong Kong
Buses outside department store Sogo in Causeway Bay. File Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Last year, the five firms submitted applications to the Executive Council for fare hikes. Four of the operators – including Long Win Bus, Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB), New Lantao Bus and Citybus – applied for a fare increase ranging from 8.5 per cent to 50 per cent.

Citybus and New World First Bus – sister companies will be merged into a single firm called Citybus Limited in July – applied for a flat fare increase of HK$2.

Around 87 per cent of passengers are expected to pay no more than HK$0.5 more per trip, and almost all are expected to pay no more than HK$1 extra per journey, according to a government press statement on Tuesday.

‘Mild’ increase

“Together with the utilisation of the [Toll Exemption Funds (TEF)] to mitigate the rates of fare increase, the overall actual weighted average rates of increase are set at relatively mild levels this time round,” said a Chief Executive in Council spokesperson in the statement.

TEFs are the funds set up by each bus firm for accumulating government-subsidised tunnel fees. The funds are used to offset the fare hike.

KMB passengers will see a 3.9 per cent fare hike, while fares on Long Win Bus services will increase by 4.2 per cent.

Meanwhile, Citybus passengers for the airport and North Lantau will see a fare hike of 4.2 per cent, whilst New World First Bus and Citybus journeys on Hong Kong Island and the Cross-Harbour bus network will see a price rise of 4.9 per cent.

Passengers using New Lantao Bus will face a 7 per cent fare hike.

People wait at Shek O Bus Terminus
People wait at Shek O Bus Terminus on April 21, 2022. File Photo: Mercedes Hutton/HKFP.

The spokesperson said the government had referred to a positive prediction on post-Covid pandemic passenger numbers, and noted the rise in cross-border travellers.

“The Government has also taken into account the future opportunities of business growth for the franchised bus operators arising from the new population intake of major new developments such as those in Hung Shui Kiu/Ha Tsuen, Anderson Road in Kwun Tong, and Tuen Mun Area 54,” the spokesperson said.

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Mandy Cheng is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. Previously, she worked at Ming Pao, focusing on investigative and feature reporting. She also contributed to Cable TV and others.