Provisional Legislative Council
Panel on Transport

Implementation of the Octopus


1.1At the Transport Panel meeting on 22 October 1997, Creative Star briefed Members on the operation of the new smart card ticketing system. After discussion, Members asked to be kept informed of further progress on the implementation of the Octopus, particularly on the following aspects -

  1. note acceptance problems;

  2. publicity;

  3. extension of the Octopus to more bus routes; and

  4. levy on transport operators for each Octopus transaction.

2.Sales and Usage

2.1 There has been a steady increase in the sales of the Octopus. By the end of November 1997, some 2.3 million Octopus cards were sold (compared with 1.9 million in mid-October). On average 8,000 cards are sold every day (Chart 1).

2.2Similarly there has been a steady rise in the use of the Octopus. In the last week of November 1997, over 2 million rides were made each day, compared with 1.9 million in mid-October (Chart 2).

3.Note Acceptance Problems

3.1On 22 October, Members were informed that the Octopus Add-Value Machines (AVM) could not process some of the bank notes issued in 1997, and the note acceptance manufacturer had been asked to resolve the problem. The manufacturer has now developed new software to enable the AVM to process all bank notes in circulation by mid-December 1997.


4.1The public transport operators have continued with their publicity on the smart card system vigorously to educate passengers on the new ticketing system. Passengers are now more familiar with the system. The number of calls made to the Creative Star hotline service has dropped to an average of 10 calls per week (compared with over 30 calls per week in early September and an average of 14 calls per week in early October).

5.Timetable for Octopus on Buses

5.1In response to Members' views on extending the use of the Octopus to more bus routes, KMB has decided to accelerate its Octopus installation programme. KMB has started negotiations with suppliers on a programme which will greatly improve its previous target of 500 buses per year. Details of the acceleration programme will be announced after the negotiations are concluded.

5.2Citybus has indicated that it is encouraged and impressed by the operation of the Octopus on its cross-harbour routes. Citybus has just started using the Octopus on its 12M feeder route which will allow Citybus to gain additional experience on a different type of route. The company is planning to equip its whole bus fleet with the Octopus equipment as soon as possible.

6.Levy for Each Transaction

6.1Being a non-profit making company, Creative Star obtains its revenue from the levy for each Octopus transaction paid by individual transport operators and from the interest on deposits. The average cost of each transaction, and hence the levy paid by the operators, will be lowered if more transport operators join the Octopus system. Creative Star aims to keep the transaction fee below 1% of the fare involved, and this fee is adjusted annually.

7.Sale of Common Stored Value Tickets (CSVT)

7.1In order to give existing CSVT users some more time to get used to the Octopus, the MTRC and KCRC have decided to extend the sale of CSVT by one month until 31 December 1997. All CSVT can be used on the MTR and East Rail until 30 April 1998, and any unused portion of the CSVT after that date can be refunded at any time from the MTR Customer Service Centres and KCR Ticket Offices.

Creative Star
10 December 1997