Taxi drivers protest over fare bargaining
About 100 taxi drivers staged a slow-drive in Central yesterday calling for a law to ban fare bargaining.
The action, initiated by the Taxi and Public Light Bus Concern Group, came after officials told lawmakers in September that it would not introduce such a law because it would be difficult to enforce.
The taxis went from the Central ferry piers to the Murray Building and ended at the Legislative Council.
Lai Ming-hung of the group said the aim was to put pressure on officials since the majority of taxi groups maintained in a meeting with officials last month that a law was the best solution to tackle discount gangs who steal their business.
In the September Legco meeting, 27 of 31 taxi owners and drivers associations supported such a law. They said a new charging model implemented last year to raise fares for short trips and cut those for longer ones had hit their income.
Meanwhile, Lai said he would complain to the Ombudsman this week about the failure of the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department to regulate fuel quality.
The problem came to light over the New Year when hundreds of taxis running on Sinopec fuel reported breaking down.
The department has started a three-month investigation to identify the problem, looking at the supply chain of Sinopec's liquefied petroleum gas and the design and maintenance of the vehicles.
Two taxis had their tanks, hoses and vaporisers cleaned and made to run on new supplies of Sinopec LPG yesterday.
Eight taxi groups have agreed to provide 28 vehicles for the test.
The vehicles will use the same designated fuelling stations for regular monitoring in the next three months, during which their performance and engine conditions will be examined once every week.
Five Sinopec LPG stations have been cleaned and resumed service. As of yesterday, a hotline set up by the department had received 10 reports of stalling engines of LPG vehicles.
The number of taxi owners and drivers associations who, at a Legco meeting, urged a law to ban fare bargaining: 27