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Government public transport fare concession scheme to include two more green minibus routes from February 26
     Two more green minibus routes will be included in the Government Public Transport Fare Concession Scheme for the Elderly and Eligible Persons with Disabilities (the Scheme) from February 26 (Sunday).

     The two routes, serving Wong Tai Sin and Tsuen Wan districts (see Annex 1) respectively, are run by an operator that has newly joined the Scheme. Altogether there will be 515 routes run by 158 operators (see Annex 2 for a full list of all routes) under the Scheme, covering around 98 per cent of all green minibus routes and 99 per cent of all operators.

     All green minibuses participating in the Scheme will carry its logo (see attachment) on their windscreens, next to their side doors and atop their Octopus readers for ease of identification. The operators concerned will also help publicise the Scheme by putting up posters at green minibus termini.

     The Government is carrying out respective preparatory work to facilitate the two remaining green minibus route packages to be included in the Scheme as soon as possible.

     The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Stephen Sui, pointed out that the Scheme has been very well received. "The overall number of daily passenger trips taken by beneficiaries of the Scheme has been increased to around 997 900, from around 740 000 before the Scheme's extension to green minibuses. Every day, an average of some 874 100 trips are made by elderly people, and some 123 800 by eligible persons with disabilities.

     "The Scheme has proved highly effective in encouraging the elderly and persons with disabilities to participate more in community activities and facilitating the building of a caring and inclusive society," Mr Sui said.

     The Government launched the Scheme in phases starting from June 28, 2012, covering the general Mass Transit Railway (MTR) lines, franchised bus routes operated by five franchised bus companies, ferry routes run by 13 ferry operators and most green minibus routes.

     With the Scheme's extension to green minibuses and the steady rise of Hong Kong's elderly population, the estimated Government expenditure for reimbursement of the revenue forgone to the operators is around $1 billion and $1.2 billion in 2016-17 and 2017-18 respectively.

     The Scheme allows elderly people aged 65 or above, as well as persons with 100 per cent disabilities aged below 65 receiving Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) or Disability Allowance (DA), to travel on the MTR, the above-mentioned bus routes and ferry routes, and green minibuses carrying the logo at a fare of $2 per trip.

     To enjoy the concessionary fare, the elderly can simply use the Elder Octopus or their Personalised Octopus, whereas eligible persons with disabilities shall use a Personalised Octopus with "Persons with Disabilities Status".

     Eligible persons with disabilities who have not yet obtained a Personalised Octopus with "Persons with Disabilities Status" may obtain application forms at the Customer Service Centres in designated MTR stations. As for eligible persons with disabilities who are new applicants of CSSA or DA, the Social Welfare Department will, upon approving their CSSA or DA applications, mail them the application form for the Personalised Octopus with "Persons with Disabilities Status".

     The Scheme is not applicable to fares paid in cash. When the original fare of a journey is below $2, the beneficiaries will only need to pay the original fare.

     Details of the Scheme are available on the Labour and Welfare Bureau's website (www.lwb.gov.hk/fare_concession/index_e.html). For enquiries, please call 1823.
Ends/Friday, February 24, 2017
Issued at HKT 12:30
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