Octopus will launch a tailor-made app for taxi drivers next month which will allow passengers to pay fares with their cards.
Octopus hopes the app will help it corner Hong Kong’s e-payment market for taxi rides. Two major mainland players – Alipay and WeChat Pay – already offer similar services.
The app is Octopus’ second taxi-related product. Last November, it launched a QR code payment service.
Octopus chief executive Sunny Cheung Yiu-tong said on Monday he hoped the new payment method would help change the habit of Hong Kong’s 40,000 taxi drivers, many of whom only accept cash.
Yeung Ngai, 16, from International Christian School, doesn’t think the new payment option will affect him, as he doesn’t regularly top up his Octopus card. “I would fear not having enough money to pay for the ride,” he says. “Besides, the cost of taking a taxi is still exorbitant and a luxury.”
Zachary Perez Jones, 13, also finds having to top up his card an issue. “Octopuses are geared for multiple small transactions and not that much for big ones,” says the South Island School student.
Angelina Wang, 16, from Chinese International School, frequently uses taxis. She says the app would encourage her to take taxis more often as she finds “Octopus transactions much more convenient”.
“There’s no chance of the taxi driver giving too little or too much change,” she adds.
Angelina says she’d like to be able to pay using Apple Pay or a with credit card, while Yeung says that for students, the existing payment options are enough.