May 5, 2016

Hong Kong Public Transportation With Octopus Card

Hong Kong Public Transportation With Octopus Card
Hong Kong Public Transportation is the best. My favorite one is the MTR (Mass Transit Railway), which is the same as New York Subway, European Metro, or London Underground Tube. I love how clean and efficient those MTRs are. Most station has escalators and elevators, which are very useful for wheelchair visitors or those that have knees issues that cannot walk up and down the stairs too much.

Today I am going to talk about the process of how to get the ticket for Hong Kong public transportation and where to buy the tickets, etc. I always recommend visitors to Hong Kong to get the Octopus Card if they are going to rely on public transportations there to sightsee things.

What Is Octopus Card?

Octopus Card is basically an electronic smart card that you purchase from Hong Kong transit department, and then you can store value in it by first making payments. This eliminates the need of buying tickets each time to get on the MTR. When you travel with an Octopus Card, the journey fare costs less than individual tickets. So it is convenient and cost-savings.

Octopus Card Fares

Remember, each Octopus Card requires a refundable deposit of $50 HKD and initial $100 HKD for an adult Octopus Card. So you should expect to pay $150 HKD for an adult's card.

If you are traveling with someone that's at least 65 years old or a child, they get discounts on public transportations. Each person's price is $50 HKD deposit plus $20 HKD initial stored value.

To give you an example, I travelled with my parents who are over 65 years old and my sister who is an adult. So for 4 of us, I purchased the following Octopus Cards:
  • 2 Adults: $50 HKD deposit + $100 HKD initial stored value =  $150 HKD x 2 = $300 HKD
  • 2 Seniors: $50 HKD deposit + $20 HKD initial stored value = $70 HKD x 2 = $140 HKD
  • Total paid: $440 HKD 
Do note that, each person requires to have an Octopus Card. One card cannot be shared among different people.

Furthermore, you can use Octopus Card for the Peak Tram & Sky Terrace and pay the same fee as you were to buy the pass for that attraction. You can also use Octopus Card for the famous Star Ferry, and it is free for elders. Everything is all don automatically with Octopus Card, all you have to do is tap in and tap out. 

The Process Of Getting and Using Octopus Card(s)

  1. Go to your nearest station and find the Customer Service center/agent in the station. 
  2. Tell the agent that you want to purchase the Standard Octopus Card(s). Check the Octopus Fares above and do the math to ensure you are not just paying for whatever the agent tells you to pay. Cash only. 
    1. You can purchase the elder Octopus Card without showing the passport or any ID to verify the person's age. The person do not have to be there either. The agent will simply make sure you are clear that the card is only for visitors that are at least 65 years old. There may be random checks at the station's entry from time to time, so do NOT try to cheat this. It's not worth it! 
  3. You will see the turnstiles before entering the station. Go for the ones that have Green sign, Red means no entry. 
  4. Simply tap that Octopus Card on the Octopus Card reader. The reader displays the value in your card quickly. Push the turnstile and walk in. Don't wait as it does not automatically open for you if it's a turnstile entry :-) 
  5. Find your train and enjoy the ride to your destination. 
  6. When you arrive at your destination and exit the station, the process is the same as you entered the station. Tap the Octopus Card reader on the reader, the system deducts the value in your card instantly for the journey that you have travelled. The reader displays the remaining value in your card quickly. Push the turnstile and walk out. 
  7. Enjoy your visit!

Insufficient Fund In Octopus Card

In an event that you try to enter the station, but the system alerts you that you don't have sufficient fund in your card, you can add values to the card by using the Add-Value machine or by going to the Customer Service Center in any station.

Getting Refund

At the end of your stay in Hong Kong and you no longer need to take any means of public transportation, you can return the Octopus Card and get a refund of all the remaining value on your card. It's completely up to you if you want to keep that card for souvenir and forfeit the refund. However, if you want to get your refund back, simply return each Octopus Card to the Customer Service Center in any station and the agent will give you cash for the remaining value on your card minus the $9 HKD if retuned within 90 days of issue.

Complete Hong Kong Series

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