Octopus card glitch leaves hundreds of MTR passengers out of pocket

A technical problem meant some 340 passengers were not given interchange discounts. The MTR says they have now fixed the problem and the charges will be refunded soon.

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 April, 2016, 7:32am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 April, 2016, 7:31am

More than 300 Octopus card users who passed though turnstiles at three West Island Line MTR stations may not have received interchange discounts for a week due to a software glitch.

The MTR Corporation acknowledged on Sunday that it would have to refund a total amount of about HK$1,300 to the 340 affected passengers at a loss between 70 cents to HK$13.8 per person.

The blame was placed on a trial software upgrade at Kennedy Town, University of Hong Kong and Sai Ying Pun stations between April 15 and April 22. The MTR said the problem was fixed and users would be compensated.

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Several passengers flagged the issue with staff and complained that their eligible discounts accrued from transiting in between lines or other public transport networks had been omitted, after exiting certain gates at the three stations.

An MTR spokeswoman said the problem only affected passengers who had used their Octopus cards for other transactions between journeys, such as toping up their stored value cards or buying things at convenience stores, before swiping out of the exits.

The glitch may have also caused passengers who had transited between Tsim Sha Tsui and East Tsim Sha Tsui station before exiting the three stations to have been charged for a separate journey.

“As of April 22, we have received inquiries from five passengers and expect to receive more gradually. According to our data, about 340 Octopus card users were affected,” the spokeswoman said. “We have notified the contractor in charge of the software upgrade and have rectified the issue.”

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In September 2012, 2,494 Octopus card users failed to receive interchange discounts amounting to HK$8,700. It affected passengers boarding at Tai Po Market station for three hours after using the free several connecting bus services. They were compensated and given a single-journey ticket as a gift.