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COVID-19 epidemic jeopardizes Hong Kong people’s livelihood. Honorable Members of the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong (BPA) met with the Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan on March 9 to suggest the MTR Corporation to reduce fares by 20 to 30 percent for 9 months in order to alleviate the burden of travelling expenses on citizens. To tide the public over difficult times, the implementation period should be from April until the end of this year. BPA urged the government to cover related expenses by the dividend income from MTR.
Ir Dr Hon Lo Wai Kwok, chairman of BPA, said that in meeting with Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung Kin Chung on March 4, members of the Alliance expressed their opinions and suggestions on the $30 billion Anti-epidemic Fund. He suggested MTR to reduce fares by 20 to 30 percent not only helping the public, but also restoring public trust and confidence in MTR.
Hon Jeffrey Lam Kin Fung, vice chairman of BPA, pointed out that according to some experts, Coronavirus outbreak might last for a long time, thus our citizens had to prepare for long-term anti-epidemic measures including spending more money on epidemic prevention products. He urged MTR reduce fares as soon as possible in order to set an example and encourage other public transport companies to offer fare reduction.
Hon Abraham Shek Lai Him, Secretary-General of BPA, expressed that many workers were unemployed or underemployed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and high transportation fees posed a great burden on them. As the major public transportation company in Hong Kong, MTR earns tens of billions of dollars every year while the fare reduction proposed by the Alliance only accounts for about 10 percent of MTR’s revenue. “Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures,” he said. He urged MTR to cut fares as soon as possible to fulfill corporate social responsibility.