The Octopus Card is a contactless smart card, mostly is used to pay rides on the MTR, buses, minibuses, ferries, trams and on a few taxis equipped with Octopus readers. It was introduced in 1997 as a payment method on the MTR. But since then, thanks to its popularity with locals and tourists, it was transformed into a payment system, which is used to collect fares on almost all types of public transport, and also for payments in shops, supermarkets, car parks, fastfood and retail outlets, such as 7-Eleven, Circle K, Starbucks or McDonald's. Today, over 20 million Octopus Cards in calculation and the Octopus system handles over 10 million transactions a day, with transaction value exceeding HK$100 million.
There are several types: On-Loan Octopus, Sold Octopus and Airport Express Travel Pass.
If you are planning or have planned to visit Hong Kong for a few days, it is highly recommended to buy an Octopus Card. It is very useful and gives several advantages:
1. There is no need to spend time buying a single journey ticket at Ticket Issuing Machines, or counting the exact amount of coins on buses and trams.
2. You save money on MTR rides compared to single journey tickets. For example, a single journey ticket from Cental to Mong Kok costs HK$11, with Octopus - HK$9.9.
3. Passengers of Cityflyer Routes travelling to/from the Airport can enjoy a 50% discount for the return journey on the same day. To see details, click here.
4. Airport Express (AE) passengers can enjoy a free return journey on the same day. To see details, click here.
5. Also, AE passengers can enjoy free MTR connections to/from the Airport Express stations. To see details, click here.
On-Loan Octopus Card
The On-Loan Octopus is a rechargeable stored value card and is perfect for tourists. Available types: Adult, Child, Elder and Personalised. To purchase On-Loan Card, passport or any other identification are not required, except Personalised. The card comes with a refundable deposit of HK$50, which will be returned to you together with the remaining value when you return it.
|Price of On-Loan Octopus (HK$)|
|Adult||HK$150 = Deposit $50 + Initial stored value $100|
|Child (3-11)||HK$70 = Deposit $50 + Initial stored value $20|
|Elder||HK$70 = Deposit $50 + Initial stored value $20|
Where To Purchase
The On-Loan Octopus can be purchased at the following places:
- Any Airport Express Customer Service Centre.
- Any MTR Customer Service Centre (except Racecourse station).
- Also, it can be purchased at other Customer Service Centres of public transportation companies.
How Does It Work
Swipe/tap the card over the Octopus reader. The amount taken as well as the remaining value will be shown after each transaction, so you know when is time to top up the card. You can keep your card in a wallet or a bag.
- MTR: Swipe the card at the entrance barrier and once at the exit barrier (destination station).
- Ferry: Swipe the card at the entrance barrier.
- Bus: Swipe the card when you get on.
- Trams: Swipe the card when you get off.
Most bus routes use flat rates depending on where you get on. But there are a few routes where you should swipe the card twice, when you get on and get off a bus. For example, route no. 6 to Stanley and route no. 15 to the Peak.
Card Reloading (Adding Value)
Do not forget to top up your card, otherwise you will not be able to use it. The Octopus Card can store up to HK$1,000. You can reload it at hundreds of locations throughout Hong Kong.
- Any Add Value Machine at all MTR stations. Insert notes of HK$50 or HK$100.
- Customer Service Centers of MTR, Airport Express, Light Rail, KMB or Citybus at Airport Ground Transportation Centre.
- Also, you can add funds to your card at convenience stores, supermarkets, retail outlets, like 7-Eleven or Circle K, that are authorised Add Value service providers.
If the Octopus's balance is positive (HK$0.1 or above) but insufficient to cover the payment of the transaction, On-Loan Octopus Holders are able to use up to HK$35 of their HK$50 deposit in order to complete the transaction. The Octopus cannot be used if the balance is zero or negative prior to the transaction.
There are a number of Octopus Enquiry Machines at all MTR stations where you can check the remaining value and the detailed information of the last 10 Octopus transactions (date, amount and type of service provider). Simply, touch/swipe your card over the reader and wait until it shows your balance and last transactions.
Also, you can request a print-out of last 10 transactions at any MTR Customer Service Centre, or at any 7-Eleven or Circle K at a fee of HK$3.
If you have any inquiries, contact Octopus Customer Service Hotline +852 2266 2222.
The On-Loan Card is refundable. When you leave Hong Kong you can return it to the Customer Service Centre at the Airport or to any Customer Service Centre at any MTR station, in order to get a refundable deposit of HK$50 and the remaining value. A refund fee of HK$9 will be deducted, if the card is returned within 3 months from the date of issue. To see details, click here.
If you leave Hong Kong, but forget to return the card to get a refundable deposit and the remaining value, do not worry, it is active for 1,000 days from the date when you last added value to your card. Even after 1,000 days, when the card is deactivated, you can go to any Customer Service Centre at any MTR station and reactivate it free of charge. So you can use it in your next trip to Hong Kong.
This type of Octopus is made in the form of ornaments, key holders or designed smart cards and is a nice souvenir. From time to time cards with a new design are issued. Since Sold Octopus with a new design is issued regularly, the price is vary and may have limited or no initial stored value (usually has no stored value). When purchasing, if the price has no initial stored value, top up before using. Sold Octopus functions as an On-Loan Octopus but has no deposit. It also can store up to HK$1,000.
Airport Express Travel Pass (AETP)
This smart card is designed for tourists and offers 1 or 2 journeys on the Airport Express plus 3 consecutive days of unlimited travel on the MTR, Light Rail and MTR Bus (Northwest New Territories), except East Rail Line First Class, and travel to/from Lo Wu or Lok Ma Chau stations. A valid passport or similar ID that proof a tourist status must be shown when purchasing the AETP. You can take your 1 or 2 journeys on the Airport Express on any day within 180 days of the date of issue. To see details, click here.
The AETP with 1 Airport Express journey costs HK$220, including a refundable deposit of HK$50, and can be purchased at any Customer Service Centre of Airport Express/MTR stations (except Racecourse Station).
The AETP with 2 Airport Express journeys costs HK$300, including a refundable deposit of HK$50, and can be purchased at any Customer Service Centre of Airport Express stations or at the following MTR stations: Kowloon Tong, Mong Kok, Tsim Sha Tsui, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay stations.
If you plan to visit Hong Kong for 3-4 days, plan to take the Airport Express to get to/from the city and you travel alone, AETP is an excellent choice. For example, you stayed on Hong Kong Island and bought AETP for HK$300, which includes 2 AE journeys. So for HK$50 (HK$300 - HK$200 (2 AE journeys to/from Hong Kong Island) - HK$50 (refundable deposit)) you get 3 consecutive days of unlimited travel on the MTR plus discounts up to 33% on admission to popular tourist attractions, such as Hong Kong Disneyland, Madame Tussauds Hong Kong, Ngong Ping 360 and Sky100 Hong Kong. Also, you can add value to the AETP and use it to pay fares on other types of transport or on the MTR after 3 days of free MTR travel.
If you decided to buy an Airport Express Travel Pass, you can do it online and get a discount. To see details, click here.
But if you are, for example, a family of four: 2 adults and 2 kids, it is better to buy a group ticket for HK$250 and 4 On-Loan Octopus Cards (2 Adults and 2 Children). On-Loan Cards are more flexible.
Note: This information is for reference only and is subject to change without prior notice. Please, visit official website or contact directly with the company to confirm all rates and details before planning your trip.