Ticket to ride set in rail whiz plan

Hongkongers may eventually be able to use home-return permits to buy tickets for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link on mainland ticketing websites with an e-mail, says transport chief Frank Chan Fan.

Charlotte Luo

Monday, August 27, 2018

Hongkongers may eventually be able to use home-return permits to buy tickets for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link on mainland ticketing websites with an e-mail, says transport chief Frank Chan Fan.

Chan said the SAR government and China Railway are negotiating the arrangement, and it will take six months or longer to change the ticketing system.

He believes the rail link - set to start service on September 23 - can increase the overall cross-border transportation traffic.

If the travel time saved by express rail passengers is converted into monetary benefits, it would be about HK$90 billion, which is similar to the investment, he said.

When asked if there will be any penalty mechanism should the operation of the express rail not live up to standards, Chan said the government is still discussing this with MTR Corp, and is hoping no such mechanism will be needed.

A trip to Shanghai and Beijing from West Kowloon station would take eight to nine hours.

There will only be one trip in the morning or early afternoon daily, and the train will arrive at the destinations late at night. However, the amount of traveling time has been criticized as people feel an entire day is wasted for passengers.

Chan suggested people take the new express rail line from West Kowloon to Guangzhou South before boarding other trains to destinations further away.

He said if some people want to save money on one night at a hotel, they can buy tickets for the sleeping berth in advance online, and take the train to Beijing or Shanghai later at night.

He added some people might find the timing of trains from Guangzhou South more convenient.

Chan said China Railway will "give up parts of the profits" in the ticket revenue-sharing mechanism, as Hong Kong can receive 45 to 95 percent of the fare revenue from the six short-haul stations.

China Railway is willing to settle for the segment calculation, instead of the mileage calculation.

To further illustrate his point, he said Hong Kong can receive 45 percent of the fares of a trip from West Kowloon station to Guangzhou South, meaning the SAR can get 112 yuan (HK$129) from the ticket price of 257 yuan.

Chan described the arrangement as a "generous sponsorship."

The routes of the intercity railway from Hung Hom station to Guangzhou East and the express rail link are different.

Meanwhile, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress will discuss an amendment to the Individual Income Tax Law today.

The amendment defines resident and non-resident individuals as two types of taxpayers. The length of time used to distinguish between the two groups will be adjusted to 183 days from the previous 365.

Incomes - no matter earned in the mainland or elsewhere, such as Hong Kong - will be subjected to taxation in the mainland.

With the change, SAR deputies to the NPC want Beijing to consider measures to ease the burden on Hongkongers who live in the mainland.

charlotte.luo@singtaonewscorp.com