Gov’t announces ‘simple and easy’ subsidy for public transport to start next year

Good news for Hong Kong’s commuters: cash back! Well not cash cash, but money nonetheless.

Starting Jan. 1 next year, the government will introduce a subsidy for passengers who spend more than HK$400 (US$51) a month on the city’s trains, buses, trams and ferries.

Under the Transport Fare Subsidy Scheme– which is non-means tested — any money spent beyond the initial HK$400 will be subsidized by 25 percent, subject to a cap of HK$300.

That means if a passenger spends HK$1,500 in a month, they’ll get a HK$275 subsidy.

The scheme — first flagged by Chief Executive Carrie Lam — could benefit some 2.2 million citizens and will cost about HK$2.3 billion to run, reported on.cc.

Announcing it yesterday, a Transport Department (TD) spokesman called the measures a “simple and easy” way to relieve the daily burden on frequent public transport travellers.

Commuters are not required to pre-register or submit any application to be eligible and it will not impact other various concession available to certain groups, like students and the elderly.

According to a TD statement, it will be calculated on the basis of the actual monthly public transport expenses recorded on each Octopus.

To collect their fare subsidy, passengers need to tap their Octopus at the Subsidy Collection Points set up at each MTR station, Light Rail Customer Service Centre and designated ferry pier.

Octopus readers at convenience stores including 7-Eleven and Circle K, as well as Wellcome supermarkets, will do the trick as well. Commuters can also use their Octopus App to redeem the money, which is available for three months.

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