Star Ferry will keep fares affordable, transport chief says

Local | 19 Jan 2018 1:38 pm

The Star Ferry has promised to keep its fares cheap; offer free WiFi to passengers; lower emissions levels and review staff salaries as part of its bid to renew its franchise, which is due to expire at the end of March.

Secretary for Transport Frank Chan Fan told legislators that discussions with the ferry operator, which runs services between Tsim Sha Tsui, Central and Wan Chai, are almost complete, and the promises it has given have "largely addressed” community demands, RTHK reports.

The 120 year-old Star Ferry raised fares by around 9 percent last year, and while it didn’t give any specific figures, Chan said the operator has given an undertaking to "do its best” to keep fares affordable.

Chan said for its part, the government will look at whether it can give the company more flexibility in managing money-making businesses at its ferry piers in Central and Wan Chai, to help keep fares low.

But he said they won’t be given any special exemptions.

"They have to comply with town planning requirements. If there's any rezoning, they have to follow the procedures… any changes will have to meet all legal requirements”, he said.

He also said the company has promised to review its remuneration packages, to try to attract new blood.

The operator is hoping to renew its franchise for 15 years, but Chan said the Executive Council will decide on the length of the renewal – if it agrees to the renewal.-Photo: RTHK

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