Tips to save money on travelling on the MTR and buses as a student in Hong Kong

As a student in Hong Kong, every dollar counts. Young Post shares the best ways to get around the city cheaply

Joshua Lee |

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A student discount Octopus Card is one of the best ways to cut your transport fees.

While public transport might be more affordable in Hong Kong than other parts of the world, there are still many ways for people - especially students - to save a little money while getting around the city. A few dollars saved here and there will add up over time, so these tips are worth considering.

Use a student discount Octopus Card:

If you’re a secondary school or full-time university student in Hong Kong, you can activate the “student status” on your Octopus Card by filling in the appropriate forms and returning them to designated MTR stations.

Student status allows you to save around 50 per cent on MTR fares, and certain bus routes offer student discounts as well.

Always bring your student Octopus card with you, because if you forget and need to buy a ticket, you will have to pay the full adult fare.

Interchange discounts:

There are a lot of discounts available when you interchange between different bus routes using your Octopus Card. You save several dollars when switching at certain interchange bus stops, which can be usually found at the entrances of major tunnels and on some highways.

You pay the full fare for the first bus, and then you get a discount when you use your Octopus card on the next one.

There are several other types of interchange discounts - between the Cross-Harbour buses and trams, as well as the MTR and certain minibus and double-decker routes.

These discounts are everywhere, but not everyone knows about them and information can be difficult to find. It’s a good idea to search for these discounts online or on information boards at bus stops.

Section fares:

Hong Kong bus fares are based on the distance between the bus stops and the buses’ final destination. This means people who get off halfway are paying a higher fare than they

need to.

On some routes, there are special “section fares” for people who aren’t travelling the full distance – just pay the full fare with your Octopus Card when you get on, and tap the card reader again when you get off. The reader will return several dollars back to your Octopus card.

However, it is important to check the section fare offer applies to your bus stop, or you may end up paying for the ride twice!

Use cheaper alternatives:

In most cases, the slower and older methods of transport are much cheaper. If you’re not in a hurry, consider taking the tram on Hong Kong Island, or crossing the harbour on the Star Ferry, instead of the MTR.

These old-school forms of transport usually cost only a few dollars per trip. Although slower, trams and ferries are definitely a more scenic and relaxing way of travelling around the city.

Walk or cycle instead:

Hongkongers often pay money to travel one stop on the MTR, even when their destination is within walking distance. During good weather, consider walking to your destination, or at least a part of your journey. This will not only save you money on train or bus fares, but it will allow you to get some exercise and take in some scenery.

If you live or work in an area with cycling paths, investing in a bicycle could save you money in the long run, and is a quick and fun way to get to work.

Walking and cycling are also a great way to minimise our city’s air pollution - meaning you can save money, get exercise, and help protect the environment, all at the same time!

Edited by Ben Young