Lawmaker urges government to step in on fuel prices

Legislator Frankie Yick on Tuesday urged the government to regulate fuel prices or subsidise the transport sector to help it deal with the rise in costs, saying fuel costs represent about 30-40 percent of operating costs.

Data from the Consumer Council showed diesel prices rose from around 11 dollars per litre last year to 14 dollars – an increase of around 30 percent.

Yick said some self-employed drivers had quit, while others – such as school bus firms who are locked into contracts, had to bear the burden themselves.

He said minibus and taxi drivers who were regulated by government operated under fixed fares, and also had to absorb the higher costs.

He said the public would end up suffering unless the government stepped in.

“I’m sure some of the public transport operators will just quit the services that they are providing so the general public will be affected in terms of the service or else they will ask the government to adjust the fare levels so they can take the money back so then at the end of the day it’s the citizen who is going to pay more,” Yick said.

He said a subsidy offered by the government during the early stages of the pandemic had been “very useful”, but was no longer in operation.

“To give you an example, when the government introduced that measure the LPG price was just less than three dollars per litre and the government and the government paid HK$1 in subsidies so the driver only paid HK$2,” Yick said.

He said the subsidy had ended in mid-2021, but LPG prices had gone up to more than HK$4 a litre, so drivers had to pay HK$2 extra.