Counting down to the new year? No, we say counting down to the Public Transport Fare Subsidy Scheme of the Hong Kong government that would start on the first day of 2019.
With this scheme, those with transport expense over $400 can save up to $300 a month. It might not seem a lot, but if you leverage this saving smartly, you might save enough for a flight ticket to Taiwan.
6 Key points of the Public Transport Fare Subsidy Scheme:
Target: There are no age or income requirements to be eligible for the scheme and there's no application needed either – everyone's welcome! Commuters with monthly public transport exceeding $400 will enjoy a subsidy of 25% of the actual public transport expenses in excess of $400, subject to a maximum of $300 per month.
Coverage: Applicable to most public transport like MTR, franchised buses, green minibuses, ferries and trams. No matter what you take, this scheme's got you (almost) covered. Click here to learn more.
Effective and subsidy collection date: The scheme will be effective from 1 Jan 2019. Commuters can collect the subsidy of the previous month starting from 16 Feb. The subsidy of each month is valid for collection within three months.
Subsidy collection spots: You can collect the subsidy from MTR station, light rail customer service centre, 7-Eleven, Circle-K, Wellcome, Octopus Service Point, and mobile app (Android devices with NFC or iOS mobile devices complemented with Octopus Mobile Reader)
Co-existing discounts: Commuters can still enjoy other public transport discounts (including different monthly passes and elderly concessions) and the subsidy would be calculated based on the actual monthly public transport expenses.
Octopus/Cash expenses tracking: Transport tickets purchased by Octopus directly, like MTR Monthly Pass Extra, KMB Monthly pass and some ferry tickets, the expenses would recorded automatically. For transport tickets purchased by cash or other methods, like MTR City Saver, Tuen Mun-Nam Cheong Day Pass, Lantau Pass and Aberdeen – Yung Shue Wan Monthly Pass, commuters have to register through “Designated Transport Ticket Self-registration Points” or assisted by staff in 30 days after the ticket purchase in order to link up the expenses with the Octopus card. Click here to learn more.
MTR fare rise
Unfortunately, MTR would increase its fare along with the subsidy scheme.
Tung Chung – Hong Kong Monthly Pass Extra: $620 -> $635
Tung Chung – Nam Cheong Monthly Pass Extra: $395 -> $405
Sheung Shui / Wu Kai Sha – East Tsim Sha Tsui Monthly Pass Extra: $475 -> $485
Tung Chung – Nam Cheong Monthly Pass Extra: $500 -> $515
Tuen Mun – Hung Hom Monthly Pass Extra: $585 -> $600
Now let’s find out how much you'll actually save using the scheme!
($Monthly transport expense – $400) x 25% = subsidy amount (maximum $300)
Monthly transport expense $500, subsidy amount: ($500 – $400) x 25% = $25
Monthly transport expense $800, subsidy amount: ($800 – $400) x 25% = $100
Monthly transport expense $1,600, subsidy amount: ($1,600 – $400) x 25% = $300 (maximum)
Let’s look at some real-life scenarios:
1. Transport subsidy X MTR Monthly Pass X Interchange discount
Mr. Chan lives in Tin Shui Wai. He works in Kwun Tong 22 days a month, he takes the MTR and green minibus every day. The cheapest way would be using MTR Monthly Pass, decreasing his expenses from $1007.8 to $855.8 (15% off).
2. Transport subsidy X KMB Month Pass
Mr. Leung lives in Sheung Shui. He works in Wan Chai 22 days a month. The cheapest way would be using KMB Monthly Pass, decreasing his expenses from $780 to $685 (12% off)
3. Transport subsidy X MTR City Saver
Ms. Lau lives in Sham Tseng. She works in North Point 22 days a month. The cheapest way would be using MTR City Saver, decreasing her expenses from $691 to $618.2 (11% off)
4. Transport subsidy X Airport Staff Fare Concession
Mr. Ng lives in Siu Sai Wan. He works at the airport 25 days a month. The cheapest way would be taking Citybus using the Airport staff fare concession, decreasing his expenses from $1,350 to $1,112.5 (18% off)
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