Review of taxi industry will look at fares system

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 April, 2007, 12:00am

The fare structure for taxis is set to undergo a major revamp with the launch by the Transport Advisory Committee of a year-long review of the charges system.

Commissioned by the government, the study is the first step to setting in motion an adjustment of fares. The industry has been plagued by controversy after some taxi drivers, in a bid to boost business, began offering discounts of up to 40 per cent for customers travelling long distances.

Announcing the review yesterday, Transport Advisory Committee chairwoman Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah insisted the findings would not necessarily result in a fare reduction, but would instead explore ways of enhancing the industry's competitiveness.

'The aim of the review was to examine whether the operation of the taxi market had changed, and whether different modes of operation could be introduced.'

'Any changes in the fare-charging mechanism and legislation would affect the trade and the public. The committee won't draw any conclusions before completing the review and exchanging views with the trade and the public.'

The committee will also take into account the findings of a similar study conducted by an alliance of 27 taxi associations in March to review the industry's mode of operation and the charging system in light of the prevalence of the so-called discount gangs.

The review will be one of several initiatives that could change the landscape of the taxi industry, including an ongoing study by the Hong Kong Productivity Council to examine the introduction of London taxis and the introduction of about 600 taxis with global positioning systems later this year.


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