Transport in Hong Kong

From Academic Kids

The territory of Hong Kong has a highly developed and sophisticated transport network, encompassing both public and private transport.


Octopus card payment system

The Octopus card stored value smart card payment system can be used to pay for fares on almost all railways, buses and ferries in Hong Kong. Most parking meters in Hong Kong only accept payment by Octopus card, and Octopus card payment can be made at various carparks. The Octopus card can also be used at various convenience stores.

Escalators and moving sidewalks

Hong Kong Island is dominated by steep, hilly terrain, which required the development of unusual methods of transport up and down the slopes. In Central and Western district there is an extensive system of escalators and moving sidewalks. The Mid-levels Escalator is the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world, operating downhill until 10 in the morning for commuters going to work, and then operating uphill until midnight.

The Mid-levels Escalator consists of 20 escalators and 3 moving sidewalks. It is 800 meters long, and climbs 135 vertical meters. Total travel time is 20 minutes, but most people walk while the escalator moves to shorten the travel time. Due to its vertical climb, the same distance is equivalent to several miles of zigzagging roads if travelled by car. Daily traffic exceeds 35,000 people. It has been operating since 1993 and cost HK$ 240 million (USD 30 million) to build.


Main articles: Railways in Hong Kong, MTR, KCR, Hong Kong Tramways and Peak Tram

Missing image
Causeway Bay MTR station on the Island Line.

Hong Kong has an efficient train network. Public transport trains are operated by two companies, the MTR Corporation Limited (MTR) and the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC). The MTR operates the metro network within inner urban Hong Kong, Tsuen Wan New Town, Tseung Kwan O New Town, North Lantau New Town, Hong Kong Disneyland and the Airport, while the KCR network connects the northeastern and northwestern parts of the New Territories with the urban areas of Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Tramways operates a tram service exclusively on northern Hong Kong Island. The Peak Tram connects Central, Hong Kong's CBD, with the Victoria Peak.

There are four systems under the KCR, namely East Rail, West Rail, Ma On Shan Rail and Light Rail. There are several extensions planned or under construction, including the Lok Ma Chau Spur line, the Kowloon Southern Link, and the Sha Tin to Central Link. Note that the Light Rail possesses many characteristics of a tramway, including running on streets with other traffics (at grades) on some of its tracks.

Probably the most important service of KCR is the connection from the PRC/SAR boundary at LoWu to Hung Hom (the main intercity pasenger rail terminus for Hong Kong) and, as of October 2004, to a new station, fully connected underground with the MTR: East Tsim Sha Tsui. KCR trains resemble MTR and world subway trains with one exception, and this is one "first class" car per train featuring padded seats in place of the more Spartan accommodations in the rest of the train. This may be a holdover of the British era in which rather lavish first class service was provided on the East rail.

There are altogether six lines in the MTR system, with a total of 50 stations. The six lines are Kwun Tong Line, Tsuen Wan Line, Island Line, Tseung Kwan O Line, Tung Chung Line and the Airport Express. The former 5 lines provide ordinary metro services, whereas the Airport Express provides, for extra cost, a direct link with the city centre and the Hong Kong International Airport.

All trains and KCR/MTR stations feature air conditioning which allows the visitor intimidated by Hong Kong's tropical heat to literally shop and work all day without having to experience outside temperatures.

Built in the 1970s, the MTR has changed the face of Hong Kong from transit sharply divided on social class and ethnic lines to the efficient movement of millions of people in the most densely populated regions on earth, a public service that undergirds Hong Kong's vibrant free-market economy. Old images and films show a Hong Kong of rickshaw drivers and inefficient, polluting buses and cars for Chinese and the poor, and elegant motor cars and first class service for Europeans and the wealthy. This "charm" has been replaced by a society of more equal access.

The Hong Kong Tramways is the only tram (streetcar) system run exclusively with double deckers.

The Peak Tram is a funicular railway.

See also: Rail gauges and power supply of Hong Kong rails


See also: List of streets and roads in Hong Kong

  • total: 1,938 km (2004 est.)
  • paved: 1,938 km

breaking down into:

  • 433 km on Hong Kong Island
  • 448 km in Kowloon
  • 1,057 km in the New Territories

Bridges and Tunnels

Main articles: Tunnels and bridges in Hong Kong, List of streets and roads in Hong Kong

There are 12 vehicular tunnels in Hong Kong. They include three cross-harbour tunnels and nine road tunnels.

The cross-harbour tunnels, connecting Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula across Victoria Harbour, are:

The other road tunnels are:

Major bridges include:

See also: Hong Kong Link


See Also: History of Bus transport in Hong Kong

In 2004, five separate companies operate franchised public bus services in Hong Kong. There are also a variety of non-franchised public buses services, including feeder bus services to railway stations operated by the railway companies, and residents' services for residential estates (particularly those in the New Territories).

Public Light Buses (Minibuses)

Missing image
A green public minibus awaiting at the station at Tsim Sha Tsui.

Public light buses (widely referred to as minibuses, or sometimes maxicabs) run the length and breadth of Hong Kong, through areas which the standard bus lines cannot or do not reach as frequently, quickly or directly. Minibuses carry a maximum of 16 seated passengers; no standing passengers are allowed. Minibuses typically offer a faster and more efficient transportation solution due to their small size, limited carrying capacity, frequency and diverse range of routes, although they are generally slightly more expensive than standard buses. The popularity of public light bus services in Hong Kong is due to the high population densities which are needed to support the extensive network of minibus routes.

A passenger wishing to get on a minibus simply hails the minibus from the street kerb like a taxi. A minibus can generally be hailed down at any point along a route, subject to traffic regulations, although sometimes particular stops are marked out. To alight from a minibus, a passenger calls out to the driver that they wish to get off, although many minibuses are also equipped with small buttons on the ceiling which can be used to signal the driver to stop. Simply calling out to the driver to stop is the accepted method for alighting from minibuses; although this informal manner may at first seem unfamiliar to non-locals, it is also a system to which anyone would very quickly find themselves accustomed.

There are two types of public light minibus, Green minibuses and Red minibuses. Both types have a cream coloured body, the distinguishing feature being the colour of the external roof, and the type of service that the colour denotes.

Most of the minibus are Toyota Coaster, but there a new and environmentally friendly Iveco Daily Green minibus being introduced to reduce air pollution.

Green minibuses

Green minibuses operate scheduled service, with fixed routes and fixed fares. There are currently around 250 green public light buses routes with route numbers assigned. The exact fare must be tendered, or payment can be made by Octopus card. On some routes, passengers may pay a portion of the full fare if they are only travelling a section of the route.

Red minibuses

Red minibuses run on non-scheduled service, although some routes may in effect become fixed over time. Red minibuses may operate anywhere, except where special prohibitions apply, without control over routes or fares. In most red minibuses, passengers pay just before they alight, and change for cash payment may be available. Only a few red minibuses are equipped to accept payment by Octopus card.

See also: Jitney


Main article: Taxis of Hong Kong

An urban red taxi in Hong Kong.
An urban red taxi in Hong Kong.

Different coloured taxis serve different areas. Red taxis serve all areas, except most of Lantau Island. Green taxis only serve the New Territories, except Sha Tin, Tsuen Wan, Tsueng Kwan O and Lantau, and Blue taxis serve Lantau island only. All taxis are authorised to serve the airport.

Taxi fare is charged according to the taximeter; however, additional charges in fare table may apply, such as tolls and luggages. Red urban taxis are the most expensive, while Blue Lantau taxis are the cheapest. The standard of services among different kinds of taxis are mostly the same.

As of 2003, there are 18,138 taxis in Hong Kong, of which 15,250 are urban taxis, 2,838 are New Territories taxis, and 50 are Lantau taxis. Everyday they serve about 1.1 million, 207,900, and 1,400 people respectively.

Private cars

There are 517,000 cars licensed in Hong Kong, 64% of which are private cars. Most cars are either Japanese or European models and are right hand drive. Some Hong Kong registered vehicles carry secondary chinese registration plates and can be driven across the border to China, likewise, some of the left hand drive cars seen in Hong Kong are primarily registered in China and carry supplementary Hong Kong registration plates. The biggest problem facing drivers is the ability to find a parking spot in most of Hong Kong and traffic at times can be very heavy across the territory. To curb private vehicle owneship in Hong Kong, there are heavy first registration taxes for private cars (from 35%-100%) and petrol in Hong Kong averages around US$1.55 per litre, of which around half the cost is taxes. To obtain a driver's licence in Hong Kong is a costly and time consuming affair, there are waiting lists to do the driving tests and a full (priavte car) driver's licence valid for 10 years costs around US$115.


Hong Kong

Missing image
Hong Kong Star Ferry.

Most ferry services are provided by licensed ferry operators. As of September 2003, there were 27 regular licensed passenger ferry services operated by 11 licensees, serving outlying islands, new towns and inner-Victoria Harbour. The two routes operated by the Star Ferry are franchised. Additionally, 78 "kai-to" ferries are licensed to serve remote coastal settlements.

The following companies operate ferries in Hong Kong:

Star Ferry:

New World First Ferry:

Hong Kong & Kowloon Ferry:

HKR International Limited:

Park Island Transport Company Ltd.:

Between Hong Kong and Other Places

Fastferry hydrofoil and catamaran service is available at all times of the week between Hong Kong and Macau.

TurboJet provides 24-hour services, connecting Central and Macau. Its highest frequency is service every 15 minutes. It also provides the following regular services:

New World First Ferry (Macau) provides an 14-hour service daily between Tsim Sha Tsui and Macau, with highest frequency of 30 minutes.

Chu Kong Passenger Transport (CKS) connects Hong Kong to cities in Guangdong province, China, including Zhuhai (Jiuzhou), Shenzhen (Shekou), Zhongshan, Lianhua Shan (Panyu), Jiangmen, Gongyi, Sanbu, Gaoming, Heshan, Humen, Nanhai, Shunde, Doumen, Zhaoqing.

Ports and harbors

See also: Port of Hong Kong

Merchant marine

total: 663 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 20,478,042 GRT/34,554,455 DWT
by type: barge carrier 1, bulk 364, cargo 78, chemical tanker 23, combination bulk 2, combination ore/oil 3, container 97, liquefied gas 20, multi-functional large load carrier 1, petroleum tanker 60, refrigerated cargo 3, roll on/roll off 4, short-sea/passenger 1, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 4
foreign-owned: Australia 2, Belgium 1, British Virgin Islands 1, China 178, Cyprus 1, Denmark 3, France 2, Germany 14, Greece 4, India 9, Indonesia 2, Japan 22, South Korea 2, Malaysia 3, Monaco 9, Norway 16, Panama 4, Philippines 17, Singapore 22, Taiwan 3, Thailand 1, United Kingdom 22, United States 1
registered in other countries: 569 (2003 est.)


Hong Kong has one active international airport since the famous former Hong Kong International Airport at Kai Tak was retired in favour of the recently constructed Hong Kong International Airport, also known as Chek Lap Kok International Airport. The airport now serves as a transport hub for Southeast Asia, and as the hub for Cathay Pacific Airways, Dragonair and Air Hong Kong. Ferry services link the airport with several piers in Pearl River Delta, which immigration and custom check is not required.

Shek Kong Airfield, located near Yuen Long, is a military airfield for the People's Liberation Army.


See also: List of airports and heliports in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has three heliports. One heliport is located in the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal, by the Shun Tak Centre, in Sheung Wan, on Hong Kong Island. Another is located in Southwest Kowloon, near Kowloon station. The other is located inside Hong Kong International Airport.

East Asia Airlines operates regular helicopter service between the Macau Ferry Terminal in Macau and the Shun Tak Centre. There are around 16 flights daily. Flights take approximately 20 minutes in the eight-seater aircraft.

There are also a number of helipads across the territory, including the roof of the Peninsula Hotel, which is the only rooftop helipad in the territory, excluding the rooftop heliport of Shun Tak Centre and those in hospitals, and Cheung Chau Island, between Tung Wan Beach and Kwun Yam Beach.

See also

External links


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