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The relaxation of the binary discount will implement the charging system as soon as next year to improve

2021-01-13T23:17:05.613Z

The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Law Chi-kwong, announced on Tuesday (12th) that the two-dollar car discount scheme will be relaxed to Hong Kong residents aged 60 to 64, and will be implemented as soon as the first quarter of 2022. The government relieves the traffic burden of Hong Kong people and repairs the elderly together.



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Written by: Commentary Editing Room

2021-01-14 07:00

Last update date: 2021-01-14 07:00

The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Law Chi-kwong, announced on Tuesday (12th) that the two-dollar car discount scheme will be relaxed to Hong Kong residents aged 60 to 64, and will be implemented as soon as the first quarter of 2022.

The government has alleviated the traffic burden of Hong Kong people and has also repaired the loopholes in the anonymous Octopus for the elderly. It can be described as a belated government.

Given that the number of new beneficiaries reaches 600,000, and the number of existing beneficiary officials who need to replace personal cards is as high as 900,000, the government must properly arrange applications.

In the long run, the government should make good use of subsidy resources, including changing the flat fare into a flat discount. In addition, it should explore the implementation of preferential schemes for other payment instruments, and take the opportunity to strengthen the regulation of red minibuses, estate buses and kaito. Transportation.

The government once stopped to relax the two-dollar ride concession plan, pointing out that the plan is full of loopholes and will greatly increase the financial burden in the long run.

However, most of the loopholes can be repaired, and transportation expenses are a heavy and necessary expenditure for the public. Government subsidies have a wide range of benefits, and they have immediate effects and are worth implementing.

The final decision by the government to implement it is the first step in fulfilling its policy commitments.

The Bureau of Labor and Welfare announced that it will extend the $2 car discount to citizens aged 60 to 64 in 2022, but a personal Octopus is required.

(Photo by Zhang Haowei)

Large numbers of applications need to be carefully arranged

The major problems with the current preferential measures are: 1. It is difficult to prevent fraud by using bearer cards; 2. Non-locals can also benefit; 3. Long routes and short trips waste subsidies and hinder other passengers.

These loopholes were raised in the early stages of the plan, but the government has been lazy to allow problems to accumulate.

The government has only proposed remedial measures for some loopholes. It can only be said that it is better to be late than not.

The government has adopted the recommendations of the public and consultancy reports to replace the bearer version with a personal Octopus card, and merge the elderly card and the Octopus at the same time. This is a measure to benefit the people.

Although the consultant’s report judged that there are not many cases of repeated use of binary discounts, for example, cardholders with more than eight grown-ups used it less than 60 times in the study month (less than twice a day on average), but bearer cards are always prone to impersonation. Adding personal status can reduce violations and stop subsidizing travelers.

Of course, all transport operators still have to be more vigilant, sending personnel from time to time to check the identity of preferential users, and fines must also deter fare evasion.

It takes time to switch the Octopus card, and it affects approximately 600,000 new beneficiaries between 60 and 64 years old and approximately 900,000 existing beneficiaries over 65 years old. The government must properly arrange the application procedures.

At present, the main place to return personal Octopus application forms is the MTR Customer Service Center. The government should arrange more locations for the elderly to collect the forms, such as setting up receiving and dispatching stations in libraries or offices of the Housing Department, or sending staff to residential care homes for the elderly. formalities.

In addition, many Octopus licensed products, such as watches and ornaments, are anonymous. The government and Octopus companies must explain how to dispose of the products and store value in the future.

In the plan, the most qualified persons will choose franchised buses.

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Flat rate discounts and convenient fares

In contrast, the government has not started to reduce the public money spent on "long-distance and short-distance rides" at this time, maintaining a one-two-yuan fare, and almost all routes are common.

The consultant's report once understood the reason for Xiazhong, but it is nothing more than that passengers did not have an alternative choice for convenience, or the more frequent and convenient frequency of expensive routes, and estimated that the government would pay 21 million to 27 million yuan each year.

The report recommends setting the amount or the upper limit of the itinerary, and reminding you to choose a route with segmented charges.

There is some truth to these suggestions, but if the charging mechanism is not changed, passengers and bus captains will have no incentive to comply.

In this regard, Singapore's bus model can be used as a reference, that is, the full fare is charged when you get on the bus and snap the card, and then the section fares and discounts are calculated when you get off the bus.

A more convenient way to change is to change the flat fare to a flat discount.

Even with a 30% discount on the original price, passengers can already distinguish the difference in fares and choose routes carefully.

The consultancy report mentioned that bus and light bus operators have added two-way segmented fares to encourage passengers to choose routes with segmented fares.

The government can complete the relaxation of preferential qualification procedures before reforming the fees.

The "Government Elderly and Qualified Persons with Disabilities Public Transport Fare Concession Scheme" has been implemented since 2012. The elderly and eligible persons with disabilities can take MTR, franchised buses, ferries and special minibuses at $2 per trip.

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Respondents assisted transportation and more payment systems

After the relaxation of the preferential qualifications was implemented, the red minibuses, Kaito and village buses all tried to join the scheme to regain the lost passenger volume.

The government took the opportunity to increase the regulation of such auxiliary vehicles, such as setting prices and submitting reports on a regular basis. The direction is correct.

As far as village buses are concerned, the government should accept the recommendations of the consultant’s report and actively process applications for routes that do not substitute for public transport services. It should not refuse because some routes only allow residents to ride.

Of course, in the past, village bus operators have complained about the high fees for installing Octopus machines and renting data systems. The government must understand the details to ensure that the fees are reasonable and fair so as not to overburden the operators.

Even though the consultant’s report mentioned that other new electronic payment systems lack user identification, most elderly people use Octopus to ride, and it is not cost-effective to establish a new database. Therefore, it is not recommended to be compatible with Octopus payment tools. Methods to pay for car fares, and electronic payment is a social trend. The government should give more consideration to establishing a system to allow passengers to pay diversified and receive preferential benefits, and to promote competition among payment platforms.

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|Yu Pinhai

2 yuan car discount Luo Zhiguang public transportation 01 view

Source: hk1

All news articles on 2021-01-13

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