Hong Kong taxis to allow smart card payment

21 Jul 2011

Hong Kong taxis will soon be equipped with a card reader, enabling passengers to pay by their Octopus smart card instead of cash. The move upgrades an area of the city's public transport industry that currently lags behind other world hubs.

The service will be rolled out on over 300 cabs over the next four months, after a successful pilot scheme on 30 taxis last December.

 Passengers will be able to key in tips before paying with the Octopus card and request a receipt. According to a survey conducted by Octopus of taxi passengers, almost 90 percent embraced the Octopus payment method.

This development follows the launch of the “Flying Taxis” scheme, which was unveiled last month, which enables passengers to pay with Visa credit cards as well as book a taxi through an application on smartphones (click here for details). These have been implemented on 100 taxis so far and will eventually be rolled out on 500 additional taxis if well received.

Hong Kong taxis are one of the slowest to implement such technologies, lagging behind their counterparts in other major cities such as Singapore, London and New York. The Octopus card, which can be loaded with a minimum of HK$50 (US$6), is used on public transport or to purchase items at convenience stores.

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Alisha Haridasani

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