Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan has unveiled the fares and preliminary train frequencies for the Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link, set to open this year.
Chan told reporters on Monday afternoon that the government has reached an agreement with China Railway. From Hong Kong’s new West Kowloon station, it will cost HK$80 to travel to Futian, HK$90 to Shenzhen, HK$210 to Humen, Dongguan and HK$260 to Guangzhou South.
“Compared to the Guangzhou–Kowloon Through Train, where a regular train ticket costs HK$210, [the Express Rail Link] is more attractive in terms of speed, comfort level and time.”
Chan said that 130 days have been designated as peak days and 114 pairs of train will run between the city and the four stations. The number will be adjusted depending on the number of passengers. July and August will be peak periods, in addition to public holidays in Hong Kong and on the mainland.
Co-location Concern Group convener Tanya Chan said that the fares were a steep increase from the numbers announced by the government in 2016, when the proposed train fare for a ride to Futian was HK$53, and HK$57 to Shenzhen. The proposed fares were HK$45 and HK$49 for the two stations respectively in 2009.
Chan questioned whether the public would be willing to pay HK$260 to take the express link to Guangzhou South.
The government has said that it aims for the new system to be operational by the third quarter of 2018. The controversial joint checkpoint arrangement for the rail link – which effectively involves “leasing” land to the mainland and effectively giving up Hong Kong jurisdiction in the West Kowloon terminus – has been heavily criticised by the pro-democracy camp, who believe it violates the Basic Law.
The Hong Kong government said earlier that the joint checkpoint mechanism would be implemented in three stages: it would first sign an agreement with its mainland counterpart; the NPCSC would then approve the arrangement; and finally, Hong Kong’s legislature would enact the decision through local legislation.
The second stage was completed late December, 2017, when the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress approved the arrangement in an unanimous vote.