Airport cab site too far: travellers

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 July, 2007, 12:00am

Passengers complain of long walk to taxis

Passengers of radio-despatched taxis complained yesterday that the location of the pickup point under a new arrangement at Chek Lap Kok airport was inconvenient.

'The new pickup point is too far away from the terminal. It is especially inconvenient when we have many pieces of luggage and travel with the elderly and children,' said one traveller waiting at the new spot near Car Park No 3.

New direction signboards and temporary covers were set up along the passages between Terminal 1 and Car Park No 3. The Airport Authority also deployed about 100 staff to direct passengers to the new pickup point.

But passengers were still unhappy about the new arrangement, which required them to walk farther.

'We used to be able to get in a taxi after taking a lift ride, but now we have to walk all the way from Terminal 1 to this spot near Terminal 2. It is quite troublesome,' another passenger said.

Some radio-despatched taxi drivers had to direct passengers from Terminal 1 to the new pickup point as their customers got lost in the airport.

Under the new arrangement, radio-despatched taxis will no longer be able to pick up passengers near Car Park No 1, as they had been allowed to do under an interim measure introduced last week, the day after 200 drivers formed a blockade in protest. Instead, from noon yesterday they were required to move to the more distant spot at Car Park No 3.

The new arrangement had been scheduled to be implemented on July 14, but it was delayed for a week after hundreds of taxi drivers formed the blockade that day, blocking traffic for about seven hours.

Passengers might also face an extra charge under the new scheme, as radio-despatched taxi drivers are now required to pay a parking fee of HK$16 when waiting for customers at the airport.

'Radio-taxi drivers can ask passengers to cover the parking fees. The parking fees should be treated just the same as the tunnel fees,' said Kwok Chi-piu, who represented the radio-taxi groups.

'We have asked the government about who should be responsible for covering the parking fees under the new scheme, but it did not give us a clear answer. But under the present law, it is legal for drivers to ask passengers to cover the parking fees.'

Some radio-despatched taxi drivers were confused about the matter yesterday. Most paid the parking fee themselves instead of asking passengers to pay. 'The cost is only about HK$16 so I didn't ask my customers to pay. But I am considering asking them to pay in the future as it adds up as a business cost,' one driver said.

Speaking on RTHK's City Forum yesterday, Don Ho Yue-man, assistant commissioner of the Transport Department, denied claims that the government had not sufficiently consulted the taxi industry before making traffic arrangements at the airport.

'We have consulted the industry. The scheme is a result of years of discussions with the industry,' he said.