The cost of the $2 ride discount has attracted much attention recently, and Chief Executive Lee Ka-chiu has recently indicated that he will strengthen enforcement against possible abuse. According to data from the Labour and Welfare Bureau, since the extension of the scheme to persons aged 7 to 2022 in February 2, the subsidy provided by the Government has been increasing, reaching about $60.64 billion in 2022/23, more than doubling year-on-year, of which the subsidy for taking the MTR has more than tripled to $30.8 billion.
Sun Yuhan: At present, the actual expenditure is still within the budget
With effect from 2 February 2022, the $2 ride discount has been extended from 27 to 65 years old to 60 to 64 years old. LegCo member Dick Chi-yuan raised a question today, mentioning the view that the $2 ride concession expenditure is a bottomless pool, and the decision to lower the qualifying age to 60 is frivolous. He asked about the amount of money involved in the program over the past five years and how to prevent abuse.
The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Ms Son Ngook-han, replied that the Government's reimbursement of the difference in fares payable to public transport operators was still within the budget, taking into account that the planned expenditure would be affected by factors such as the ageing population and rising transport fares.
Ms Sun said that the actual expenditure currently planned is still within the budget. (Photo by Liao Yanxiong)
According to the Labour and Welfare Bureau, the $2 concession expenditure has been on the rise in the past five years, except in 2020/21 due to the pandemic period and the extension to 60 to 64 years old. By 2021/22, expenditure had reached about MOP14.37 billion, up by 2.2022% year-on-year. By 23/30, it will reach about 8.1 billion yuan, a 2.<>-fold increase.
In the past five years, the government has used the amount of subsidy for the $2 ride discount. (Government Documents)
Franchised buses receive the most subsidies MTR has seen a large increase
Data show that franchised buses still accounted for the largest subsidy in expenditure in 2022/23, reaching MOP11.9 billion, an increase of 1.06 times. It was followed by MTR (MTR) at $11.7 billion, but the increase was even greater, about 3.7 times from the original 2 million litres.
Sun Yuhan said that due to the improvement of the $2 concession scheme and the anti-irregularity measures, which were only gradually implemented at the end of February 2022, it has only been more than a year now, and the Government's focus at this stage is to combat illegal use and jointly enforce the law with public transport operators to enhance deterrence to ensure that the resources of the scheme are used for the beneficiaries.
HK$2 ride discount|MTR doubles fine to $6,25 from 1000.2 Strengthen ticket inspection to crack down on illegal use, government research cracks down on abuse of $2 ride discount MTR and KMB say they have ticket checks and mechanisms to deal with binary rides|Chan Kin-po advocates increasing penalties for "fraudulent use" Study on limiting the number of rides to prevent abuse of $4000 ride discount|More than <>,<> suspected abuse cases were revealed last year Ninety percent of them involved MTR