Q7. What is the source of authority for the MTR Corporation Limited to impose surcharges on passengers? What are the differences between surcharges and the penalties specified in the MTR By-laws?
Source of authority that the MTR Corporation Limited has in levying surcharges on passengers:
Surcharge means such amount, not exceeding an amount equal to 50 times the maximum adult single fare at the time the surcharge is to be paid, as may be specified in the conditions of issue: see By-law 2 of the Mass Transit Railway By-laws (Cap. 556B).
What are the differences between surcharges and the penalties specified in the MTR By-laws?
Second, any sum leviable by or payable to the MTR Corporation Limited under these By-laws or howsoever otherwise (including, without limitation, any fare, excess fare or surcharge) whether by way of debt, damages, costs, loss, expense or otherwise shall be receivable by the MTR Corporation Limited or its lawful agents as a debt due on demand and shall be enforceable as a civil debt: see By-law 44(2) of the Mass Transit Railway By-laws (Cap. 556B).
However, as for penalties, Section 101A(1) of the Magistrates Ordinance (Cap. 227) provides that if the accused does not pay the fine imposed upon him by the magistrate forthwith, or in such manner as may be allowed or directed, the magistrate may either issue a summons to the accused to appear, and if he does not appear, issue a warrant to apprehend him, or, alternatively, issue such a warrant in the first place.
Thus, unpaid levies are debts enforceable by the MTR Corporation Limited in a civil court while the non-payment of penalties would attract further criminal liability.