Committee defends taxi fare proposal

PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 31 October, 2008, 12:00am

The Transport Advisory Committee yesterday defended a government-approved plan that allows a taxi-fare increase for short journeys and lower fares for longer trips, after more than 300 drivers on Monday protested against the proposal.

Committee chairman Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah said they were taking the different views expressed by commuters and the taxi trade into consideration.

'The proposal of increasing fares for short journeys and decreasing for long trips represents the wishes of the majority of users and the taxi trade. That is a result of a broad and long consultation and discussion when we prepared the review report on the taxi industry,' Ms Cheng said.

Passengers on trips that now cost HK$65 will face the highest rise, at HK$5.50 extra per journey. Starting fares will rise by HK$2 to HK$18, and trips under 9km will be charged HK$1.50 per 200 metres, up from HK$1.40. However, passengers with fares of HK$84.60 and higher will enjoy discounts because after 9km fares will only be HK$1 for every 200 metres, down from HK$1.40.

'The Transport Advisory Committee believes the policy of this incremental increase for the short journey and cheaper fare for long ones is the right direction to go in terms of fixing fares,' she said.

Lawmakers are still debating the plan.

The committee was also briefed on the government's proposed schemes to improve the environment and safety for pedestrians in three areas: Causeway Bay, Mong Kok and Yuen Long Town.

The chairman of the committee's public transport services subcommittee, Jim Chi-yung, said more greenery could be introduced on the top of footbridges.