Home Business KMB Mulls Fare Hike Amid Rising Costs and Electric Bus Investments

KMB Mulls Fare Hike Amid Rising Costs and Electric Bus Investments

The Kowloon Motor Bus Co

HONG KONG – Kowloon Motor Bus, Hong Kong’s largest public bus operator, is not ruling out applying for a fare hike this year as rising costs, including investments in electric buses, have squeezed the company’s finances.

In a statement released on Saturday, KMB said operating costs have increased, citing higher expenses for fuel, labor, and its growing fleet of electric double-decker buses. The company recently imported 52 of the new electric buses, with 44 already in service.

“Costs – whether fuel or labour – have increased. As a bus operator, our fiscal robustness and sustainability is very important,” said Kenny Kan, head of KMB’s corporate communications and public affairs department.

While Kan acknowledged that the costs of the new electric buses are a factor, he stressed that the potential fare hike would consider a range of rising expenses faced by the company.

“If we think there’s a need, we’ll definitely apply for a fare hike… But in terms of how much the hike would be, we would consider the issue of affordability,” Kan said.

The announcement comes as KMB and other public transportation providers grapple with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has reduced ridership across Hong Kong. The company has called for more government subsidies to offset the higher costs associated with its transition to electric vehicles.

The phased rollout of KMB’s new electric double-decker fleet began on Saturday, as the company works to modernize its operations and reduce emissions. However, the significant investment in this green technology appears to be straining the company’s finances, raising the prospect of higher fares for Hong Kong commuters in the near future.