Minibus, Hong Kong
Red Striped Minibuses are small passenger vans with maximum accommodation of 16 people. Generally they serve areas which are less accessible by buses. Passengers may get on or off anywhere en route.
Routes - not always fixed
Fares - Non-fixed prices
When to Pay - Pay as you get off
Payment - Small change can be given or use octopus card.
You hail a minibus just as you do with an ordinary taxi, but cannot hail or stop at any bus stops.
Most tourist might not even know about him but he is as much part of HK's street life as the double-deckers and taxis: the Minibus!
There are two different kinds of Minibuses:
1. Green roof (fixed routes - pay when entering)
2. Red roof (no fixed routes - pay when alighting)
For the green buses, check out the below website for their routings. It's possible to get off almost everywhere (just shout "Stop!" to the driver) as long as it's on the route.
As for the red ones: except the fact that you can ask them to drop you off in front of your door (if the driver agrees to it), not even locals exactly know the routing and usually ask their way around. Wouldn't recommend to try unless you've got some local help!
Take Minibus no. 1 from Central (Hong Kong station bus terminus, in between IFC 2 and the Four Seasons Hotel) to The Peak. It's the cheapest way to get there from Central (8.00HKD), usually faster than the regular bus, as exciting... and extremely local!
Minibuses are often known as the "poor people's taxi" & have a maximum of 16 seats. There are two types of minibuses: red & green.
Green minibuses operate at fixed routes with fixed fares. Red minibuses, on the other hand has no schedule or fixed routes. Most of them serve as short connecting lines between MTR stations, KCR terminals, shopping centres or residental areas.
As the routes(have to ask driver), signs (often in Chinese) & customer service (or the lack of it) are often very confusing, travellers & locals all have trouble using this form of transportation.
So good luck if you are planning to use the minibus!
Minibus in Hong Kong is classified into red minibus and green minibus. Green minibus travels a rather short distance, normally travel to places where no MTR reaches. Red minibus travels a longer distance compared to the green one. And the route is not fixed. It varies with the time you take the minibus. Both the red and green minibus carries 16 passengers for each ride.
The green minibus accepts cash and the octopus card. You need to pay the fare in the minibus once you get it. Whereas the red minibus accepts cash only. You need to pay the fare before you get off the minibus. The fare is shown in front of the minibus.
For both the red minibus and the green minibus, you need to tell the driver where you are going to get off. Otherwise the driver will just pass through the place you are going to get off.
There are no specific minibus stops. You may just get the minibus at the place where stopping of the minibus is not prohibited.
In general, I do not recommend travellers to take the minibus. First, passengers need to tell the driver where to get off. For a traveller, it is difficult to know where to get off in the minibus. It is even difficult for a local to tell the driver where to stop. Also, normally, the bus and the MTR goes through all the places travllers visit. It is not necessary for a traveller to take the minibus, except you would like to experience it. And the distination of the minibus shown in the minibus is written in Chinese only. It is not convenient for travellers to get the correct minibus.
The only advantage of taking the minibus is that it is fast. When the bus takes 30 mins, the minibus takes only 10 mins. But the disadvantage is that it is a bit dangerous. The minibus sometimes is driven faster than the required speed. You may get more information in the general tip part.
The red and green Minibuses that you see rushing along Hong Kong streets (and trust me sometimes you need to get out of their way) are known as Public Light Buses.
These buses transport mainly locals to outlying residential areas of Hong Kong not fully serviced by conventional buses, or to areas where passenger numbers do not necessitate using a larger bus. There are approximately 4400 licenced PLB's and at times it seems they are all on the streets at the same time so take care when stepping off the footpath.
I have never used one myself simply because the MTR takes me close enough to everywhere I want to go and do I enjoy walking the rest of the way to my destination. Its important to know something about the area you are going to because when you get on you need to tell the driver where you want to get off. I would personally find this too difficult if I didnt know the area well.
NOTE: If you decide to use a Red Minibus be aware that because they are unregulated drivers they do not need to follow a fixed route or timetable and may even set their own fares. I heave heard that fares rise dramatically during inclement weather when demand is high. Fares are payable by cash only.
Octopus cards can be used on Green Minibuses.
An even cheaper alternative to Bus/ferry/MTR/Tram in Hong Kong is the minibus. They are everywhere and run various routes throughout Hong Kong, they are a lot cheaper and probably quicker than most modes of public transport. You should really be able to speak some basic Cantonese or be with some who does, if travelling on these, as all destinations are in Chinese and drivers normally only speak Cantonese. You can use the Octopus card on the minibus also.
Also known as "maxicabs"; there are 2 kinds - red top, and green top. Green top have fixed route, while Red Top don't. They are 16 seat public vans. Most of them serve as short connecting rides between MTR stations, train terminals, shopping areas and residential areas.
You can check this official page for the minibus route:
As to where they all go, good luck! Even the locals don't know except the routes they frequent. I suspect there is no web site on all the routes either.
Taking minibus is more convenience as the minibus as and where you wanted compare to the Link Bus. It is only HKD18 from Gold Cost to Mongkok.
The minibus condition is tip top. The seats are clean and the air condition is good. They do not have any schedules. They come like every 15-20mins.
Link bus is good to take if your are travel to a nearby distance. They follow schedules.
On top of that, MTR is another choice for mode of transport. Try to avoid taking cab unless some circumstances that you cannot avoid. The cab fee that you pay for 1 trip good enough to pay for your whole day bus or MTR transportation fee.
Besides the Larger Double Decker Public Buses, Hong Kong also has many Public Minibuses that is more popular with locals than with tourists and is another cheap means of transport.
There are two kinds of Mini Buses, the Green Van, with scheduled service, fixed routes and fixed fares, usually have fixed station. Under the control of the government and the Red Van,Usually with scheduled service, routes and fares, but drivers may adjust to the optimum route according to the road condition, and fares may also be adjusted (examples will be during bad weather like a typhoon). Not absolutely under the control of government.
the best deal here is that you can your the all around Octopus Card to Pay for your bus fares. Like the Big Public Buses, the Mini Buses in Hong Kong are self-service ticketing and change is not given. Generally, ticket fare is displayed on information boards at the bus stops. Passengers should ensure they are carrying the correct change before boarding or using an Octopus Card to pay the ticket fare. When you are approaching your destination stop, press the electronic buttons fixed in the bus, to advise the driver that you want to get off. Otherwise, the driver may not stop.
Most Public Buses start from 6:00 am to 12:00 am on most routes.
The Mini bus service to Shenzhen is easy fast and convient. Here is how it works.
As you leave customs, walk to the left toward the "A" section of desks. You will see a counter offering service to China. You pay them about 170 HK dollars and walk toward the first counter in the "A" section. A woman there will direct you to the exit to the limo service. A second woman will point you to the elevator down to the next level. When you walk out of the elevator you will see the minibuses.
A man will tell you to take a seat and fill out the health form required for China. He will call when your driver arrives. the bus will take you across Hong Kong and over the new Shenzhen Bay Bridge. At the China side, you will drive into the HK Immigration booth, Customs, China Immigration and China Customs. You never leave the car! From there the driver will take you to a small street where you transfer to a minibus with Chinese plates and a steering wheel on the left side. They will take you to your hotel or final destination.
I have included pictures to help as a guide. Take a look and enjoy the ride. It is only 1 hour from the HK airport to Shenzhen Holiday Inn, Dong Hua hotel!
Red minibuses look like yellowish vans with red roofs. They run 24 hours (compared to the green-roof green buses, which run only from early morning to around midnight).
The red minibuses are fast. To stop you need to know your route.
In Wanchai, there are minibuses that run from Wanchai to Mongkok--I forget the cross street.
In LKF there are minibuses that run from LKF (on Queens Road and D'Aguilar) to Mongkok.
In Mongkok, near the beginning of the Temple Street Market, there are red minibuses that run to the north west, to Yuen Long. There are also red minibuses there that run to the east, to Saikung.
The minibus is 16 seats and you have to read out where to go. For green minibus, there are usaully a fix route. While for red minibus, there may or may not be. You can to yell out when you want to get off and flag the bus along the road if you want aboard.
There are two types of minibus in Hong Kong, which varies a bit but they both take 16 passengers.
- Route fixed
- Price awkward with cents ($2.4, $3.7, $5.4 etc)
- Usually possible to pay with octopus
- Fast especially in mid-night
- Pay when on board, exact fare expected.
- Route flexible
- Drivers are world-class: well-developed radio-communication network, always take the fastest way.
- Price are exact dollars ($2.0, $6.0, $12.0 etc)
- Preferably pay when on board for fastest possible trip.
- Changes available. Octopus usually not accepted except a few well-organized routes (for example Sheung Wan -> Tsuen Wan)
- After mid-night, sit sight because the world-class driver will drive at full speed.
Remember to yell "Yaau Lockh" when you want to exit.