September 11th, 2016
The Mass Transit Railway (MTR) is easily the greatest public transportation system I have yet to experience. It’s so simple and easy to get around. There is pretty much an MTR stop near every destination you would want to go to in Hong Kong, and if not there will be connecting busses that will get you there. You can get to and from the airport, Disneyland, Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, all of the universities, etc. Once you get on the MTR stop you can get anywhere.Navigating can be easily done using the MTR Mobile app. You can simply input your current location and it will select the nearest MTR station to go to, and then input your destination and it’ll select the nearest MTR station for you to go to and plan your trip. Each railway is also color coded so for people who are more visual, hey you can take the red line to the green line to get to blah blah. One downside to the MTR is that it isn’t running 24 hours, so you have to check your times for the last trains which is usually between midnight and 1am.
Everything runs so frequently, the wait times are always very short from what I’ve experienced except maybe in the very late hours. The stations and carts are also well kept. You’re not allowed to eat or drink, so there are no accidents happening where people spill their drinks or leave their garbage all over the place. Employees clean and disinfect the railings and seats every night. Even the escalator railings are automatically disinfected as they’re operated. They encourage that you hold onto the railings so wouldn’t it make sense to keep it clean, unlike some places.
There are usually taxi stands near the MTR stops so if you prefer to take a cab you can also do that, but MTR is cheaper and probably faster. Most MTR fares range from 6-7.5 HKD which is around 1USD or less each way. But students can apply for student Octopus cards that get you 50% OFF MTR and bus rides.
Well what is an octopus card? An octopus card is that other thing you check to make sure you have in your pocket when you leave the house. Or better yet make sure it’s in your wallet with your ID and debit/credit cards. Octopus card is a refundable card that can be used for public transportation and at most convenience shops and stores. There are machines in the MTR stations that you use to refill the card with cash. I scan my octopus card to get on the train, bus, at 7-11, at Starbucks, grocery stores as well as at my university to buy my meals and snacks. It’s pretty convenient, you also don’t have to take it out of your bag or wallet to scan, you can just drop your bag up on the scanner haha.