The $50 deposit for Octopus cards is too high and should be either reduced or abolished, according to a survey unveiled yesterday. Users currently pay $150 in advance for the cards, which have a face value of $100 - the balance of $50 being the deposit. Forty-eight per cent of 650 respondents who were Octopus cardholders said it was unreasonable for users to pay a $50 deposit. Of these, 57 per cent suggested changing the deposit system, while 31.5 per cent suggested reducing the deposit to less than $30. Seventy-one per cent of respondents said the Government should allow more companies to provide similar services to ensure fair competition. The survey was carried out by the Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood. Vice-chairman Bruce Liu Sing-lee, a former legislator, urged the Consumer Council to study whether it was appropriate for Creative Star, operator of the Octopus system, to collect a $50 deposit for each card. He also suggested the Hong Kong Monetary Authority should monitor the Octopus system because the company had about $1 billion in passengers' advanced payments and deposits. If the company collapsed, passengers would lose their money, Mr Liu said. The Octopus system was introduced in 1997. Creative Star is owned by the Mass Transit Railway Corporation. Other shareholders include the Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation, Kowloon Motor Bus, Citybus, New World First Bus, and New World First Ferry.