Around 3.8 million passengers a month will benefit from a relaxed subsidy threshold

An MTR subsidy collection machine

Passengers can tap their Octopus on the subsidy machines to get instant credit, if they’ve now spent over $200 on the same Octopus in the previous month.

Commuters will be able to claw back a third of all monthly travel expenses over HK$200 made on the same Octopus card, as the government relaxes the threshold for its Public Transport Fare Subsidy Scheme from 1 July until the end of the year.

The new relaxed threshold will boost the number of eligible passengers to around 3.8 million, the government says, two million a month more than the monthly average since the scheme began in June 2019.

Under the new rules, a passenger spending HK$400 in a month will now get a HK$66.7 subsidy, up from zero. A passenger spending HK$1,000 in a month will now get HK$266.7 subsidy, up from HK$200.

Claiming the subsidy is easy: no registration or application is required, passengers simply tap their Octopus on dedicated subsidy machines at MTR stations or convenience stores (including all 7-11s, Circle-Ks and Wellcome supermarkets), or through the Octopus app. The subsidy can be collected from the 16th of each month for the previous month – if not collected for three months, it will expire. Fares for carrying bicycles, freight, vehicles and pets on ferries are excluded from the scheme, as are Airport Express tickets.

The government says it has paid out around HK$1.7 billion across 21.6 million Octopus cards since June 2019.

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