Wednesday, July 18, 2007

#6: The Octopus Card

Behold the Octopus Card.

With just a single swipe of this little card, Hong Kong opens itself up you in the most magical of ways. Most people use it as a rechargeable subway token, but the Octopus card can be used for lots of different purposes. You can pay your gas and water bills (at 7-11, no less), hop aboard any bus, train, tram, cable car, or ferry and catch an easy ride, order a McDonald's value meal, buy your groceries, feed a parking meter, indulge in instant noodles from a vending machine, donate money to various charities, and the list goes on and on. And all with just one little swipe. It's such an efficient system! You can even have a chip implanted in your watch or cell phone and rid yourself of needing to carry the card at all.

More than 95% of people in HK have an Octopus card. Heck, Matt and I have 5 of them. (We stocked up to share with friends and family who were in town, as you get a discount on transportation if you use the card.)

It's pure brilliance. The best part is that if you rig the card in your purse properly, you can just haul your purse over the sensor and never need to take out your card at all. I love it! Can't wait 'til the idea/technology hops the pond and finds its way to San Diego.

6 comments:

blewis said...

My favorite Octopus Card purchase--DONUTS! Santiago has a similar system for transportation, we call them the BIP! cards (pronounced BEEP). At first I thought it was just for subways and buses (which alone is a fantastic improvement over Philly's token-based system), but I've noticed that I can buy fruit with my BIP! card as well! If only I could get some donuts...

Crabby Rangoon said...

Where did you get donuts at? Yamazaki Bakery?

Andi said...

Four words: Mark of the Beast

blewis said...

Crabby: Yeah, Yamazaki--nice ones with dark chocolate coating.

kjl said...

Sounds very efficient, but I have to admit I had the same thought as Andi!

matt kirkland said...

Mark of the Beast? Crap. Do you think I should get rid of the ones I had installed in my wrist and forehead?

They're super convenient, anyway.