Lantau Island

Taxi driver leaders oppose fares rise

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 May, 2012, 12:00am

Three taxi driver groups, representing 7,000 drivers, are opposing a proposed HK$2 rise in flag fall because it will only help taxi owners, but not commuters and drivers, they say.

They suggest that a 'fairer' fuel surcharge akin to the one applied to airlines be introduced for taxis.

Heads of the Front Line Taxi Driver Association, Urban Taxi Drivers Association Joint Committee and New Territories Taxi Drivers' Rights Alliance spoke out yesterday, ahead of a panel discussion in the Legislative Council today on the proposed fare rise.

Citing higher operating costs, the Transport and Housing Bureau suggested on Monday the flag fall rise by HK$2 for urban taxis, HK$2.50 for those in the New Territories, and HK$2 for Lantau.

However, Urban Taxi Drivers Association Joint Committee chairman Kwan Yuk-wah, a night-shift driver for 20 years, argued this would only benefit taxi owners, who would enjoy higher rates when they rent taxis out.

Fuel prices had also nudged downwards this month, so the flag fall rise wasn't necessary, he said.

'In May, LPG fuel prices fell by 80 cents a litre. Next month, we have heard from the government, it will fall by at least another 50 cents,' Kwan said. 'We drivers can handle the fuel price fluctuations, so the proposed fare rise is unnecessary.'

Legco transport panel chairman Andrew Cheng Kar-foo said he supports a fuel surcharge.

If the flag fall proposal is endorsed by the Executive Council, it will mean the price of the first two kilometres of any trip would be HK$22 in urban areas, HK$19 in the New Territories and HK$17 on Lantau.