Octopus adds 16 cities, not Shenzhen
A new Octopus card to be launched next month will function in Hong Kong and 16 Guangdong cities - but not neighbouring Shenzhen.
The release of the card, which can be topped up in both Hong Kong dollars and yuan, follows two years of negotiations between operators of Octopus and the mainland's Lingnan Pass.
Cities where it can be used include provincial capital Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, Huizhou, Zhanjiang, Shaoguan, Zhaoqing and eight others.
But despite an earlier announcement of planned co-operation between Octopus and Shenzhen Tong, the card used by the border city, it is not included.
The new card - to be called 'Octopus-Lingnan Pass' in Hong Kong and the other way around on the mainland - can be used on public transport and in shops.
Octopus Holdings' chief executive Sunny Cheung Yiu-tong said he expected more cities in the province to be covered in future after the Lingnan Pass, which was launched just over a year ago, promoted its service to more places. 'We believe the pace of its development will be very fast,' he said.
The card features two 'e-purses', allowing users to top up with Hong Kong dollars in the city or yuan across the border, with transactions settled in the appropriate currency.
In the first batch, some 3,000 limited-edition cards, costing HK$298 for two, will go on sale on Monday and 10,000 regular cards will be offered on July 18 at HK$98.
The new card excludes the Octopus concessions currently enjoyed by students, children and the elderly in Hong Kong as well as discounts available to Octopus cardholders such as the MTR's 10-rides-for-one-free-ticket scheme.
Promotions offered with the Hong Kong smartcard and personalised cards - useful when a card is lost - are also not included.
Cheung said the company would 'continuously evaluate' whether promotions currently offered by Octopus should be incorporated into the co-named card, depending on 'user feedback'.
The two-in-one card can be topped up only in cash as it does not support automatic top-up services found in some Octopus cards that are linked with a credit card.
Due to the two currency accounts, users have to travel across the border to get all the remaining balance back in cash for cancelling the card.
Octopus said two years ago that the new card was supposed to include the Shenzhen Tong pass as well. Prudence Chan Bik-wah, then Octopus Holdings' chief executive, said in 2010 that the company had reached consensus with its Shenzhen counterpart on the design and name of the card.
Some of Hong Kong's cabs will take fares payment by Visa or Octopus in a few months from now.
Travel smart cards in Asia-Pacific, including Octopus, that work by radio-frequency identification