Hong Kong taxi fares set to rise after HK$2 increase in flag fall approved
Minimum fare for urban taxi ride to reach HK$24 after government gives green light to adjustments
Hong Kong taxi rides are set to cost more from April 9 after the government on Tuesday approved adjustments to fares for urban, New Territories and Lantau Island services.
Fares for journeys in red urban taxis will go up 9.98 per cent, while in the New Territories the increase will be 11.15 per cent, and on Lantau 8.6 per cent.
All taxis will see the flag fall rise by HK$2, which will take the minimum fare for an urban taxi ride to HK$24, a trip in a green New Territories cab to HK$20.50, and a ride on Lantau to HK$19.
The last adjustments to fares were made in December 2013.
Fares will be 10 cents more for every 200 metres travelled in urban areas, taking the price to HK$1.70. This increase applies to the first 9km of a journey, after which the proposed rise is 20 cents, taking the price to HK$1.20 per 200 metres.
The first 2km of any journey are exempted however, as the meter does not tick upwards until the car has travelled that distance.
For New Territories taxis, the fares will increase by 10 cents per 200 metres during the first 8km, to HK$1.50, and by 20 cents per 200 metres for the remainder of a journey, to reach HK$1.20 per 200 metres.
On Lantau charges will increase by 10 cents per 200 metres, to HK$1.50, during the first 20km of a journey, and by 20 cents per 200 metres for the remainder, to take fares to HK$1.40 per 200 metres.
The charge for the carriage of luggage will also go up, to HK$6 per piece from the current HK$5.
Taking into account the increases, a taxi ride from the urban area to the airport currently costing HK$250 is estimated to go up by about HK$20 after the new fares take effect.
The adjustments come as the taxi trade struggles to recruit drivers, with young people put off by the bad reputation brought by some cabbies and poor career prospects.
A spokesman for the Transport and Housing Bureau said the rises would boost incomes for cabbies renting their cars, who he said earned HK$16,000 to HK$18,000 per month – lower than the average salary in the transport trade as a whole, which was over HK$19,000.
He said the increases would also help attract new blood to the trade.
Some 80 per cent of the city’s 40,000 cabbies are aged 50 or above, with the average age being 58.
The spokesman said the government had lowered the figures proposed by the taxi trade for fare increases to ensure they were affordable for the public.
Ng Kwan-sing, chairman of the Taxi Dealers and Owners Association, said taxi firms had no plans to increase the rents charged to cabbies for their cars despite the fare rises.
“We hope to improve the livelihoods of cabbies as they need to cope with inflation and expected fuel price increases,” he said. “Their incomes have been affected by the decreasing number of mainland visitors.”
Lawmaker Frankie Yick Chi-ming, of the Liberal Party, said many drivers had signed up for retraining courses to boost service standards in an effort to restore the trade’s reputation.
The fare adjustments will be subject to legislative amendments to be tabled to the Legislative Council next week for vetting. The new fares are then expected to take effect from April 9.