Hong Kong Rail Fares


The letters page in the South China Morning Post is usually good for cranks and general weirdness. Unfortunately, the newpaper refuses to keep its letters online more than one day, so they are completely unlinkable, even if you are a subscriber.

On Thursday, there was this classic letter from a lady (I think, based on the name) from Tsim Sha Tsui:

In Hong Kong, railway fares are based on the property values of the station that you patronise. So you have to be ready to pay a premium to use the new KCRC facilities in Tsim Sha Tsui.

An MTR ride from Tsim Sha Tsui to Causeway Bay is shorter than one to Sheung Wan. But you pay $2 more, or 22.22 per cent extra, for the privilege to exit from Causeway Bay, where property prices are higher than in Sheung Wan. If everyone has accepted this for many years, why are they discontented now with the KCRC fares to the new East Tsim Sha Tsui station? It is highly unlikely that KCRC will be able to recoup the construction cost, anyway.


It is, of course, in reference to the recent opening of the East Tsim Sha Tsui (ETS) station. The fare from ETS to Hung Hom is HK$ 3.9 and for such a short journey, some people have complained. If you look at East Rail Fare Table, you can see that this is HK$ 0.70 more than the journey from hung Hom to MongKok. Truly a princely premium.

However, going back to Ms. Daswani's letter, fares on Hong Kong's heavy rail systems (MTR and KCR) are generally distance based with some premiums based on crossing certain barriers. The trams, with their HK$2.00 flat fare are an exception, and not really applicable.

There are premiums based on crossing the boundary (i.e. going to Lo Wu and soon to be Lok Ma Chau), and crossing the harbour. The boundary crossing premium is about HK$15.00 and the harbour crossing premium is about HK$6.00.

When looking at the cost of a particular fare, you also have to bear in mind any alternative routes. For the new ETS station, it now offers a route from Kowloon Tong to Tsim Sha Tsui in direct competition with the MTR route. The KCR route costs HK$5.60 for that journey, while the MTR costs HK$5.60 as well. It seems obvious, therefore, that the KCRC fare is correct, allowing users to determine if the time savings from the shorter route will affect their route choice.

To suggest that the fares are based on the property values of the destination station is completely ludicrous. If that were true, you'd pay twice as much to go to Central and Causeway bay, and the MTR would probably have to give you money to go to Kowloon Bay and Kwun Tong!

About Me


  • Unsolicited Bulk Email (spam), commercial solicitations, SEO related items, link exchange requests, and abuse are not welcome here and will result in complaints to your ISP.
  • Any email to the above address may be made public at the sole discretion of the recipient.

Other Stuff

  • Powered by Linux
  • (RedHat Linux)


Monthly Archives

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by dave published on October 30, 2004 11:40 AM.

Happy Birthday Internet! was the previous entry in this blog.

Four more years of this shit is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.