Reply To: First Ferry fare increases unnecessary?


Here’s a reply emailed from First Ferry:

Dear Passenger,

Thank you for your opinion regarding the cabin temperature.

According to our records, cabin temperature of vessels has been normally
kept in the range of 22oC to 24oC in accordance to the company guideline.
We noted that there might be occasions when the temperature fall or rise
beyond the prescribed range, please be assured that First Ferry would
enhance onboard inspection to ensure a comfortable cabin and service
consistency and our staff onboard would be pleased to offer assistance to

In response to your suggestions and the changing weather, First Ferry has
recently adjusted the thermostats onboard to a temperature range of 24oC to
25oC. First Ferry would closely monitor the public acceptability of the
change and keep the situation under review to ensure a comfortable cabin.

Since service commencement in 2000, the operating environment has been tough
for First Ferry. Though the effectiveness of fuel saving has yet to be
studied, First Ferry appreciates invaluable comments from your goodself and
will continue to explore possible measures on cost saving and revenue
generation in order to improve financial viability of the ferry operations.

With a view to alleviating the pressure of fare rise, First Ferry has
introduced a series of cost-saving and revenue-generating measures in the
past years. To reduce operating cost, First Ferry introduced various
measures such as repairing vessels in places where the cost is comparatively
low to save maintenance expenses, hedging oil prices, adjusting pay scale of
new recruits to market levels, implementing service rationalization and
introducing automatic payment system.

First Ferry has also implemented a spectrum of revenue-generating measures
including the offering of “Island Hopping Pass” privileged tickets, the
launch of round-trip tickets to attract tourists to the outlying islands,
the introduction of Joss House Bay Service during Tin Hau Festival, ferry
charter service, the provision of pier-top advertisements and expansion of
rental income. We concur with your goodself that tourists help the ferry
business, however, to promote tourism, support from HKSAR Government and
other relevant bodies are pivotal. As a ferry operator, First Ferry is
committed to the provision of a safe and comfortable sea journey to the
commuting public and plays an ancillary role in tourism promotion. Since
commencement of service, First Ferry has been actively coordinating with
relevant parties to promote islands to tourists. To name a few, we launched
the abovementioned “Island Hopping Pass” and participated in various
travel expos to promote the islands and took part in various joint
promotions with the Hong Kong Tourism Board and other local parties.

Yet, these efforts First Ferry were offset by continuous surging operating
costs made while at the same time, It is expected that there will be no
ssignificant increase in income generated from ferry tickets . Owing to
these factors, First Ferry must adopt a fare rise to reduces losses and we
hope that passengers would understand the urgency and necessity for the fare

Thank you for the invaluable comments that allow First Ferry to serve the
commuting public better.

Yours sincerely,
Donna Kong
Customer Service Division
New World First Ferry Services Limited

To which I’ve just responded:

Hi Donna:

Thanks for your response to my comments.

Ferry temps seem ok to me now. 24-25 C would seem better temp for summer too – it seems silly to have to consider taking warm clothes around during hot weather, because ferries might be chill.

Good to learn First Ferry has done some tourism promotions. More can be done I think; remember Hongkongers are tourists too when on fun trips to islands (and are not targeted by HKTB – which is not great at promoting tourism outside city). Not sure if can also manage a day pass that includes other services, such as a meal, perhaps a simple souvenir.
For Lantau, may take some work to keep Mui Wo service in public eye given transport (inc coming skyrail) from Tung Chung. But I’d recommend travel via ferry to Mui Wo, then bus, as best way to Ngong Ping.

Best regards,

while here’s a reply from govt:

Further to our email of 10/10/2005, we have referred your case to the
Transport Department for follow up and their reply is as follows :

Thank you very much for your valuable comments on NWFF’s fare increase

In assessing the fare increase application, Transport Department will take
into account a basket of factors, including the financial position of the
ferry operator, performance of the ferry operator, increase in operating
cost, public affordability and acceptability of the proposed fare increase,
and alternative cost cutting and revenue generating measures to improve the
financial circumstances of the operator including your suggestion of
reducing the energy consumption by raising the temperature of
air-conditioned passenger cabin of NWFF’s ferry vessels.

Transport Department fully understand the concern of the public on the fare increase, and will take a deliberate approach in processing such

Should you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us.

Carol Au
Customer Service Supervisor
1823 Citizen’s Easy Link

Post edited by: martin, at: 2005/11/13 23:59