This is NOT a drill. The long-anticipated Octopus payments may finally be coming to taxis across the city! Octopus chief executive Sunny Cheung Yiu-tong recently announced that they’re trying to recapture the HK taxi market with a new App for drivers. This new system could be in motion as early as April, making us one step closer to Octopus utopia we all crave.
According to hk01, the scheme will kick off with no initial administration fees for drivers that use the new app, but as of the following year they may have to pay a 1.5% transaction fee to Octopus Hong Kong. More importantly, as a passenger, you’ll just have to ‘doot’ your card, no hidden fees and you’ll have the option of leaving the driver a tip.
But this could all just be a hopeless dream, it all depends on how many drivers actually sign up, and their initiative is not without contest, Hong Kong’s 40,000 taxi drivers are also in the line of sights for mainland payment platforms Wechat and Alipay. You may have seen cabs donned in ads for said platforms, promoting a more efficient way of paying. In December 2017, over 1,000 taxis had signed up for WeChat Pay HK while over 1,500 taxis had opted for Alipay.
Having become a staple payment avenue in mainland China, Hong Kong is now at a tipping point. Will we embrace mainland payment gateways, will we champion Octopus as a local alternative or will paper money reign supreme?