Beat the crowds and pinch the pennies with these useful tips to make your trips across Hong Kong as seamless as possible.
1. Tap for Tip
A little-known fact is that Hong Kong buses offer sectional fares. If your destination isn’t the terminus or final stop, tap your Octopus as you leave, and you’ll be re-credited a portion of the fare. This might sound like pennies per trip, but it does end up helping you save in the long run.
2. Saver Stations
Thought there was no such thing as free money? Think again. Scattered across the city, the MTR corporation’s fare saving machines are little kiosks that offer a $2 on your next trip. A full list of the machine locations is available on the MTR website. You’ll seldom need to travel out of your way to reach one. They’re particularly easy to spot at lunchtime, thanks to the hordes of people queuing for their time to tap.
3. Stop Topping Up
All too used to the bleep that shames you into knowing you’re in the red again? Link your Octopus to a credit card (with top-ups of either $250 or $500 at a time), and you’ll be in the clear. Forms are downloadable from your online banking platform. Once your application has been approved, all you need to do is take your letter of confirmation to the customer service desk at your nearest MTR station.
4. Lacking in Language Skills?
The TAXI app turns English addresses into written Chinese, leaving no room for miscommunication, and (hopefully) preventing you from ending up in the wrong place. It also gives you the phonetic pronunciation, if you’re a budding linguist with time on your hands. The app is available on Apple and Android devices.
5. Hitch the Right Ride
If you’re with a big group of people with suitcases in tow and your Uber rating isn’t quite what you’d like it to be, check out your options elsewhere. GoGoVan operates on a similar scope, and Lalamove are a van hire service. Quotations can be given either in app, or via their websites.
6. Getting-Out-of-a-Gig Guide
You may have seen the little red minibuses parked outside concert venues like KITEC after a big gig, with signs for Mong Kok and Causeway Bay. These ad-hoc, cash-only rides get you to your destination worryingly quickly. If you’re willing to they save the hassle of a multi-leg journey.
7. Expo-sing Discounted Fares
If you can show proof of purchase for a concert or event at the AsiaWorld-Expo, then return train tickets are available for $60, instead of the year-round rate of $80 return, or $110 for a single journey. Discounted tickets are available at a kiosk opposite the trains, are valid only for the day, and must be paid for using an Octopus card.
8. Eliminate Trivial Travel
Fed up of cramped quarters on your morning commute and the people traffic that you inevitably add to when you’re trying to make your way out of the station? The Pokeguide smartphone app tells users which carriage to stand in so that they’re nearest their exit when they got off the MTR. It’s also got a handy new AR function for the geographically challenged among us, with an arrow pointing you in the right direction (and telling you when you’re veering dangerously off-course).
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