Home Business Hong Kong to Review HK$2 Public Transport Fare Subsidy Scheme Amid Rising...

Hong Kong to Review HK$2 Public Transport Fare Subsidy Scheme Amid Rising Costs

Public Transport Fare Subsidy

HONG KONG — Amidst ballooning costs, Hong Kong’s HK$2 public transport fare subsidy for the elderly and people with disabilities, along with the broader public transport fare subsidy scheme, will undergo review, according to Financial Secretary Paul Chan. The review’s goal is to ensure the schemes’ financial sustainability while maintaining their provision, with completion expected within 2023.

The two schemes cost the government HK$3.5 billion and HK$4 billion, respectively, in the 2023-24 fiscal year. The HK$2 concessionary fare, which was lowered to 60 years old from 65 in 2022, will remain unchanged, according to a source.

“The review aims to enable the continued provision of subsidies of the schemes in a financially sustainable manner. We anticipate that the review will be completed within this year,” Chan said.

Billy Mak Sui-choi, an associate professor of accountancy, economics, and finance at Baptist University, suggested limiting the number of times eligible users take public transport with a concessionary fare per day or adding a requirement for the users’ financial situation.

Lingnan University urged the government to consider transport types, reasonableness of its fee increases, and mechanism when reviewing the schemes. Lawmaker Stanley Li Sai-wing proposed a time window for eligible people to travel for HK$2 after peak hours every day.

Wu, an 80-year-old resident, expressed willingness to accept an upward adjustment to 20% off or an increase to HK$4, considering the elderly seldom travel long distances. However, Kwok, another resident, opposed the adjustment, stating that even a HK$2 difference mattered.

The government has not yet announced a final decision on the schemes’ review.