Friday, September 15, 2006

Touch n Go - Lessons from Hong Kong

The problem about the Touch n Go is that there really isn't much use of it apart from some of our transportation needs. Please, using it a theme park does not count.

I haven't been to Hongkong, but I've read quite abit about its Octopus. Let the plagiarised Wikipedia do the talking.

Contrast Hongkong's Octopus with our TnG:

More widespread use
Making payment at convenience stores, supermarkets, fast-food restaurants, on-street parking meters, car parks and many other point-of-sale applications (e.g. service stations and vending machines)... and at many stores in the city, most notably, 7-Eleven, McDonald's, convenience stores, other fast food restaurants and Starbucks coffee shops.

A large number of vending machines and self-service kiosks in Hong Kong accept Octopus as payment; these range from beverage vending machines to
payphones and photo-booths — they can even be used to purchase travel insurance (for HK$10 per person, from the Bank of East Asia). Ricoh, Minolta and Fuji Xerox offer photocopiers that support payment by Octopus.

Other applications
In addition the system is used for access control to offices, schools and apartments. It can even be used to donate money to charities.

What can our MyKad do? Not that we trust the government anyway.

Easy reload

Cards can be recharged with cash at add-value machines or over the counter in shops (notably 7-Eleven and Circle K), or directly through credit cards and bank accounts.

It doesn't say some credit cards. Nothing about paying RM1 (50 sen?) at the ATM. Nothing about, only available at certain stations up to 10 p.m.?

Concession users are also acknowledged by a higher pitched beep on all forms of transport barring the MTR, which plays three notes in succession.

To avoid abuse of concessions.

MTR and KCR charge less for journeys made using an Octopus card compared with using single journey tickets. For example, the cost of a single journey from Chai Wan to Tung Chung is HK$23.1 with an Octopus card, and HK$26 with a single journey ticket.

And we pay more to use our TnG for parking. WTF! WTF! WTF!

Loyalty Marketing
Octopus cards can also be used to earn various kinds of rewards. In the past, passengers could earn "MTR Points" for their rides on MTR to redeem collectibles or free single-ride tickets. Now the Octopus Cards Limited has also launched an Octopus Rewards scheme, enabling citizens to earn reward points for every purchase in designated shops by a ratio of HK$200 = R$1 (reward point).

Deposits and refunds
Deposit and the remaining value on the card are fully refundable, except for a HK$7 administrative charge for cards refunded within 3 months after issue. (For personalised cards the charge is HK$10, for cards issued after 1 November 2004 or those refunded within five years of issue.)

On 27 June 2006, the first trial of taxis equipped with Octopus was launched in the New Territories with the Yellow Taxi Group and widely welcomed by the public and the local press.

International use
MTR has signed an agreement with the developer of the Shenzhen Metro's automatic fare collection system towards making Octopus cards compatible with the fare collection system in Shenzhen Metro, which would require that the systems automatically convert fares denominated in Renminbi into Hong Kong dollars.

Of course there will be a few xenophobic racist policymakers won't let this happen.


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