TAC briefed on Airport Express fare revision, review of MTRCL Fare Adjustment Mechanism and details of franchised taxi proposals
The Transport Advisory Committee (TAC) was briefed today (April 27) by the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) on the fare revision proposal for the Airport Express, and by the Government on the review of the Fare Adjustment Mechanism (FAM) of the MTRCL and proposals on policy framework and key implementation arrangements on franchised taxis.
Members of the TAC were first briefed by representatives of the MTRCL on the proposed fare revision for the Airport Express starting from 2017, and gave views on the fare revision proposal.
The TAC Chairman, Mr Larry Kwok, said, "Members note that the fares for the Airport Express have been kept unchanged for nearly 20 years since its opening in 1998, and that the Airport Express is mainly for business and travelling and not a public transport mode for daily commuting. The MTRCL consults the TAC on the fare revision proposal for the Airport Express in accordance with the Operating Agreement signed between the Government and the MTRCL. Members note that the fare revision rate proposed by the MTRCL is lower than the inflation rate of the same period. We trust that after the new fares take effect, the MTRCL will continue to enhance the service and facilities of the Airport Express."
According to the Operating Agreement, after consulting the TAC and the Panel on Transport of the Legislative Council (Transport Panel), the MTRCL will resolve to approve the new fares through its Board of Directors. The MTRCL will formally notify the TAC and the Transport Panel, and announce the new fares no later than three weeks prior to implementation of the new fares.
Members were also briefed on the review of the FAM of the MTRCL, and noted that the review had been completed. The enhanced FAM will take effect starting from June this year.
"Members welcome the enhanced FAM, which may better respond to public concern about the relationship between the FAM and the MTRCL's profitability as well as passengers' affordability, whilst still respecting the financial prudence required of the MTRCL as a listed company, on the premise that a transparent FAM based on public and objective data and a direct-drive formula has been retained. The review outcome can relieve the fare burden of citizens, benefiting all passengers," Mr Kwok said.
"In particular, Members note that according to the new FAM and the changes in Composite Consumer Price Index and Nominal Wage Index (Transportation Section) as announced by the Government, the overall MTR fare adjustment rate for 2017/18 is +1.49 per cent. According to FAM, since the adjustment rate is within the range of ±1.5 per cent, it will be rolled over to the subsequent year. In other words, there will be no adjustment for MTR fares in 2017/18. But, according to the outcome of the current review, various fare concessions, including the new '3% fare discount per journey' scheme, will be offered to passengers," he added.
Furthermore, the TAC noted that having regard to the latest developments in relation to the provision of personalised and point-to-point transport services as well as stakeholders' views canvassed, the Government made suitable adjustments to the preliminary proposals in June 2016. The Government's latest proposal is to introduce franchised taxis through a trial scheme of five years. It is proposed that three franchises will be granted by open tender. Each franchise will comprise 200 vehicles with 600 franchised taxis in total. The proposed overall fare level of franchised taxis should be about 35 per cent to 50 per cent above the ordinary taxi fare. The franchises will also prescribe requirements on operation and service quality, including the "online car hailing" feature.
Mr Kwok said, "Members agree that the Government should respond to the new demand in the community for better quality personalised and point-to-point public transport services of higher fares. Members note that a number of international cities have provided various types of taxi services for passengers. The franchised taxis should provide an additional choice for the public. Members also note that the Government will continue to canvass views of various stakeholders and will report on how to take forward the work on franchised taxis in the Report on Public Transport Strategy Study to be released in June this year.
"The service quality of ordinary taxis, which provide the majority of taxi services, must be improved. Members note that the Government will work closely with the taxi trade to improve the service quality of ordinary taxis under the current licensing regime. The Government is also studying with Department of Justice on whether to increase the penalty levels."
Ends/Thursday, April 27, 2017
Issued at HKT 18:00
Issued at HKT 18:00