A minibus firm founded in 1977 has folded after losing HK$2 million in the last few months on revenues already under pressure from a recent MTR extension serving its main routes.
Chit Fai Motors Company announced it would be forced to axe four minibus routes – the 2, 2A, 6 and 6X – from Whampoa Garden to Kowloon Tong and Tsim Sha Tsui from Friday. After pleas from the Transport Department it agreed to keep going until today (11 April), with another firm, Kellis, to temporarily take over two routes from Kowloon Tong.
“Since the outbreak of the virus in Wuhan, compounding the company’s business difficulties since the extension of the Kwun Tong Line, and with the impossibility of anticipating the end of the epidemic, we take the heavy decision to end our business,” the company said on its Facebook page.
“We understand this will be difficult for our regular users, but even a miracle cannot save us in the present situation,” it said, adding that the recent pay subsidy announced by the government would not help.
The company said it would not be able to meet redundancy payments to employees and sought Labour Department support.
Over 480 customers left messages of condolence on the company’s Facebook page. “Thank you for your hard work, the minibus and driver team are outstanding and operated with their hearts. There was a very dedicated driver who used to announce the name or street name of the station in Chinese and English,” read one.
The MTR’s 2016 Kwun Tong Extension from Yau Ma Tei to Ho Man Tin and Whampoa put Whampoa within 20 minutes of Kowloon Tong by train, against a 45 minute minibus ride in even light traffic.