Free public transport on election day ‘unprecedented’

People will get free MTR, bus and tram rides on the day of the Legco elections.

In making the announcement on Friday, the government said it expects higher demand for public transport on election day, December 19, which is also a Sunday, and urges people to pay attention to the traffic situation.

Under the scheme, MTR routes except the Airport Express and all tram services will be free.

It will also cover a majority of franchises bus services except airport, border, overnight and premium routes, as well as some that run on Lantau South.

Executive Councillor Ronny Tong called it an unprecedented move.

“Never before has any administration tried this, but knowing that the coming election may well have the lowest turnout rate in history because of the non-participation of the pan-democratic camp, I think it’s a good idea to allow people to come out and vote, and allow more people particularly elderly people to have a chance to come out and vote,” he said.

“I think anything which can help to make it more convenient for people to vote would be a good thing in any event.”

Political analyst Ma Ngok from Chinese University questioned if the arrangements would boost voter turnout.

“I think most of the polling stations are within walking distance, and I think most of the voters do not need any kind of public transportation to go to the polling stations,” he said.

“It would encourage people to go out and leave their homes to take advantage of the subsidy. And then it may actually mean that more people are away from their homes and away from the polling stations.”

The government thanked the transport operators for agreeing to provide the free rides.
Last updated: 2021-12-10 HKT 17:17