One of the best things Hong Kong has to offer is its extensive and varied public transport system. However, with the quality of transport the government is investing on, it’s to be expected to have some kind of maintenance budget allocated to keep the system highly functional and abreast with the latest technological features.
That said, it’s also important to note that public transportation on the island is not cheap and so is the cost of living in this country.
Public Transport Refunds Rolled out by Gov’t for Residents
On Wednesday (January 9), the government rolled out a public transport fare subsidy scheme which aims to help relieve the burden on commuters spending heavily on their transportation needs, as shared in a report by the Hong Kong Free Press.
Under the non-means-tested Public Transport subsidy scheme, Octopus card users whose monthly public transport expenditures are above HKD 400, are eligible to receive a subsidy of 25%, subject to a maximum HKD 300 per month. There is no age or income restriction for the beneficiaries under this scheme.
The scheme was presented in the 2017 policy address of Chief Executive Carrie Lam, which had drawn criticisms for covering only select number of transport modes including the MTR, franchised buses, green minibuses, ferries and trams.
In response to this, the Transport Department expanded the coverage of the scheme which will now include residential and employee buses, red minibuses, and motorised ferries.
Furthermore, critics of the scheme expressed concern if the scheme would be of value to cross-border parallel traders who export goods into mainland China via public transport.
According to Lam, an estimated 2.2 million Hong Kongers are expected to benefit from this scheme, with expenses estimated to reach HKD 2.3 billion.
This is good news for the wide majority of the riding public in Hog Kong, which is everyone, who not only have to shoulder their daily transportation costs but also other living costs in the city.