Kowloon Motor Bus yesterday announced a fare concession strategy which it says is not aimed at the merger of Kowloon Canton Railway and the Mass Transit Railway corporations.
KMB's strategy comprises fare concession for seven connecting trips covering 21 routes which are in areas served by KCRC and MTR Corp.
The bus company will introduce the scheme from Sunday - the same day the merged railways will begin their fare concessions.
KMB operations director Tim Ip denied the company is trying to counter the fare reduction of the railways.
"We've been studying the implementation of the scheme and time is needed to take steps and make preparation. So it is just a coincidence that we start our interchange schemes on December 2.
"It has no direct relationship between our decision and the merger of the two railways," Ip said.
He said the new schemes are provided according to passengers' travel patterns and service demand.
The passengers will have to use Octopus cards for the specified bus routes and interchange within two hours and 30 minutes.
They will enjoy a discount of HK$3.50 for airconditioned buses or HK$2.70 for non-airconditioned buses.
There will be discounts of 30 percent to 50 percent on 60 percent of the routes on the second-leg journeys - a saving of 70 percent because of the free ride for the rest of the routes.
KMB's offer will cover West Kowloon, Tsuen Wan, Sha Tin, Yuen Long, Tuen Mun, Tin Shui Wai and North District. In most cases, the fare after the concession will be lower than the same route using the MTR.
One of the fare concessions is between Tsuen Wan West and Tsim Sha Tsui. Route 234A costs HK$4.90 from Tsuen Wan to the Tai Chung Road bus stop, and if the passenger takes a second- leg journey by using route 234X to Tsim Sha Tsui, they will save HK$3.50 from the original fare of HK$7.50 for the second journey. The total cost will be HK$8.90.
For a journey by MTR on its single-journey fare rate, it will be HK$9, or HK$8.20 with an Octopus card.
Ip pointed out the concession will not affect KMB's September decision to apply for a 9 percent fare rise, as the company is still under pressure from surging operating costs such as fuel and salary increases. He said KMB had taken into account the latest concession scheme before making that application.