Riding Green and Red Minibuses in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s efficient transport system does not mean on-time performance and extended route network. It’s also about the options locals can take to get from one place to another.

One local transport option for locals to take are the ubiquitous red and green minibuses. Each of these buses can carry a maximum of 16 passengers and ideal for areas where much larger double decker buses do not operate or MTR station is far away.

Routes are displayed above the front window as indicated by route number (green minibuses only) and destination. Passengers wait at designated stops but since a bus often stops only when a passenger alights, make a hand gesture to hail the bus and take the ride. For green buses, payment is upon entry just like big buses and Octopus payment is available. For red buses, payment is usually at passenger’s destination and is often done in cash so prepare exact cash if possible to avoid delay.

One advantage of these 16-seater buses is that they can travel at faster pace — up to 80 kilometers an hour or even faster — making it a time-saving option for passengers. But it is likely more expensive than ordinary buses or even MTR trains. Also, in the case of red-topped mini buses, drivers typically do not get moving until it is full; passengers need to prepare cash payment as most of these buses do not support Octopus card payment.

Photo credit: Michael Hansen/Flickr

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