Hong Kong boasts a population of 7.4 million people and boasts an unparalleled public transit system, powered by government policies, multimodal investments and a business model designed to foster and sustain high levels of use.
Uber displays MTR, bus and other transit options alongside taxis when entering a destination. Cathay Pacific flights can easily get you in and then you can take advantage of several Hong Kong transit options.
Hong Kong MTR (Mass Transit Railway) provides an easy and efficient means of transit throughout Hong Kong, with four lines running 24/7 and well-marked maps and signs in English and Chinese for ease of use. Payment can be made using cash, coins or an Octopus Card which can be purchased at airports, MTR stations or convenience stores – an Octopus card is great for longer layovers as its reusable nature eliminates having to constantly change money while saving time by eliminating constant currency exchange processes.
Hong Kong’s initial plan for mass transit was detailed in a 1970 report entitled Hong Kong Mass Transit: Further Studies. This comprised four lines – Kwun Tong line, Tsuen Wan line, Island line and East Kowloon line – but later reports saw this plan revised, such as replacing Kwai Chung station with Lap Sap Wan station, or making Island line an interchange station between Admiralty and Central lines.
Avoiding the MTR by walking or taking public transit is one way to get around Hong Kong’s massive mass rapid transit (MTR) system. There are numerous pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods like Sham Shui Po and Yau Ma Tei where you can grab lunch or watch everyday Hong Kong life up close, or catch one of Hong Kong’s 260 islands to take in sea breezes or ancient Taoist temples.
Hong Kong boasts an extensive public transportation system that encompasses MTR trains, buses, minibuses and tramways – as well as taxi services. A convenient solution would be purchasing an Octopus card which allows travel on public transport as well as 7-Elevens; these cards require an initial deposit of HK$50 which will be returned upon returning the card.
MTR has recently made several improvements to accommodate passengers with disabilities, opening new stations to meet this need and upgrading Kowloon Tong and Tsim Sha Tsui stations to offer better facilities to disabled travellers. Furthermore, Tsim Sha Tsui now features an upgraded entrance that eases interchange with east rail lines, while increasing capacity by lengthening platform length.
Hong Kong’s public buses are comfortable, economical and safe; especially the double-deckers. Their destinations can be seen displayed both front and back for ease of navigation; fare payments depend on distance travelled and must be exact change (Octopus cards can also be used), though an all-day pass for bus travel (HK$55 per person) can also be purchased.
Bus routes span Hong Kong from city center to outlying islands. Buses tend to be more convenient than trains when transferring between different lines, with several cross-platform interchanges providing quick transfers between lines. You can hop on or off any time, although underground stations should use doors near their platforms (e.g. if taking the Tsuen Wan Line heading toward Central, leave through Prince Edward Gate) when exiting via an underground station.
Public light buses (also called minibuses) are provided by private companies across town, providing fast and affordable transportation. Although flagged down on the street, for maximum efficiency it’s best to show your destination to the driver prior to hopping aboard one.
The city’s three taxi companies each maintain distinct fare structures. Green taxis, which typically resemble vans, operate specific routes with fixed fares that can be paid with either Octopus card or cash (exact change only). Red taxis charge higher rates but offer more flexible routes and may even be easier to flag down from the street.
Ferries are an integral component of Hong Kong public transportation, linking both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon with outlying islands such as Lantau, Cheung Chau, and Peng Chau. Ferries tend to be less busy than buses or MTR systems and offer many routes to choose from.
Hong Kong boasts an expansive taxi fleet that you can hail directly off the street or book via an app, making for a straightforward and cost-effective means of travel around the city. Just make sure that you know your destination before hailing one down! Most cabs are four or five passenger vehicles; their number indicated on a half moon shape plate placed front and rear of each cab; children under three do not count towards passenger seating capacity.
Taxi fares are recorded using the taximeter inside each vehicle, which calculates them based on distance travelled and any waiting time incurred during their hiring period. Furthermore, toll roads or bridges may incur an extra surcharge and drivers may add on a toll charge for crossing tunnels although this isn’t always the case.
At peak hours, it’s wiser to opt for bus or MTR as opposed to taxi if possible. Taxis tend to become crowded quickly and may cost significantly more in terms of both money and time spent riding them.
An effective taxi app will save money and streamline your trip more easily, enabling you to track its progress, track its location in real-time and plan your route around traffic jams more easily. Plus, sharing your trip will allow you to meet other passengers on board!
Be familiar with the different types of taxis in Hong Kong. Each type has its own permitted areas and you can identify them by color; urban taxis typically operate throughout most of Hong Kong with exception to Tung Chung Road and southern Lantau Island roads, while blue taxis are restricted to specific locations like Airport and Disneyland.
Recent public opinion research in Hong Kong indicated that residents rated taxi services average, which marked a significant decline from last year when 70 per cent of population expressed satisfaction with them. Tourists gave higher ratings than residents; and the chairman of Hong Kong Taxi Council blamed low ratings on an ageing taxi fleet and lack of new hires; he further requested the government ban online car-hailing apps like Uber to ensure better services to Hong Kongers.
Renting a car is the ideal way to travel around Hong Kong Disneyland(r) Resort or the rest of the region, whether for road tripping to Disneyland(r) Resort or just exploring. Your own vehicle gives you freedom from public transit schedules while enabling you to see sights at your own pace – saving money on taxi rides while enjoying self-drive freedom with rental cars!
There are some key points to keep in mind when renting a car in Hong Kong, however. First and foremost, make sure you book in advance to find the most cost-effective rate. Also make sure that any restrictions or fees associated with your rental have been checked thoroughly prior to signing a contract.
Hong Kongers, as inhabitants of an erstwhile British colony, are used to driving on the left side of the road. Because Hong Kong is relatively compact and densely populated, parking can often be hard to come by even in major malls; and without extensive knowledge of its road system it may prove challenging for you to use a car without encountering any major difficulties.
Car rentals can be found both at the airport and various other locations throughout Hong Kong. Budget, Avis and Hertz all offer rental cars that will meet your specific needs; some even provide shuttle buses between these services and the airport itself!
If traveling with children, be sure to inquire whether your car rental company offers child safety seats. Hong Kong law mandates that children under the age of two be restrained in an approved child seat. Furthermore, if driving out of Hong Kong is part of your plan, inform them as they may require issuing special permits which would then become part of your rental agreement.
Hong Kong boasts an extensive network of affordable private bus services and minibuses that provide convenient and safe transport alternatives to MTR trains and buses, eliminating parking issues or traffic congestion worries altogether.