A city as busy as Hong Kong by necessity has to offer a reliable and fast public transport network that can cater to a population of millions efficiently on a daily basis. As a result, buses, metros and trams extend into almost every corner of this sprawling city – and taxis are more than happy to service the rest. For those who haven’t visited the city before, we’ve put together a guide to Hong Kong’s public transport network.
With 275 licenced vehicles to every kilometre of road, driving in Hong Kong is rarely the easy option. If you do choose to take the car, it’s worth bearing in mind that traffic jams and the struggle to find a parking spot are both daily occurrences. However, expatriates will be relieved to know that road signs in the city are written in both Chinese and English, making it much easier to navigate. Petrol prices are also reasonable, but bear in mind that if you want to cross over into mainland China, you’ll need permission from the Chinese authorities beforehand.
Most buses are double decker and offer great views of the city. Buses are operated by different companies serving different parts of Hong Kong and each bus’ destination will be displayed on the front in both Chinese and English. Bus stops are clearly marked, but you’ll need to raise your hand to let the driver know you want to get on. You’ll also need the exact money or an Octopus Card to pay your fare, usually between HK$4 and HK$10 for a single ride. You can check the bus operators’ websites beforehand to make sure you have the right change.
Hong Kong’s double decker trams have run since 1904 and offer a more relaxed and scenic way to venture across the city. The fare for a tram ride is fixed at a flat rate of HK$ 2.30 and must be paid in exact change or by using an Octopus Card.
MTR (Mass Transit Railway)
The fastest way to get around Hong Kong, the MTR’s 10 lines cover all of the city’s major districts. Trains run from around 5.30am in the morning until 1am the next day and continue to run regularly on Sundays and public holidays, so you’re unlikely to be stranded when travelling this way. Fares can be anything from HK$4 to HK$49 depending on how far you’re going. Again, you can also pay via Octopus Card, with discounts available for both children and senior citizens.
A large number of taxis run throughout Hong Kong and can be hailed on the street or booked over the phone. Taxis in Hong Kong are managed by the government who also regulate all of their fares. Prices range from HK$15 to HK$20 for the first 2km plus an additional HK$ 1-1.50 for every following 200m. Accurate prices can be found on the Hong Kong Transport Department’s website. It’s important to remember that taxis are all colour coded to tell you the areas they service: red for Hong Kong, green for the New Territories and blue for Lantau Island.
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