Group seeks review of consultation on taxi cuts

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 June, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 June, 2003, 12:00am

The government should review the consultation process covering taxis in the New Territories following the recent dispute over a cut in fares, a taxi group has said.

Lau Kam-leung, spokesman of the Coalition for the Rights of New Territories Taxi Drivers, said yesterday that the review was essential if the government wanted to avoid a repeat of the recent demonstration in Sha Tin, when more than 1,000 drivers staged a rally two days before the fare-cut scheme came into effect last week.

'The department should revamp the whole [consultation] structure and find out whether those people claiming to represent the drivers are really representing the drivers,' he said.

The cut, which offers a discount of up to 25 per cent on fares, has been in force since June 8.

The fare reduction trial, which was originally intended to last for six months, was proposed by 10 government-recognised taxi groups which unanimously agreed on the cut.

But hundreds of taxi drivers threatened to strike a week later, fearing that the cut would reduce their incomes and not help them.

The government later agreed to carry out an industry-wide survey on the fare cuts and shortened the trial period to one month.

The Transport Department will start a driver survey today over whether the fare cut should continue. Questionnaires have also been sent to taxi owners to gauge their views.

The department has said the results of the survey will be used to judge whether the fare cut should be maintained. But it said another survey of passengers' views on the fare cut would also be used as reference.