Lawmakers yesterday urged the government to consider adding a fuel surcharge to taxi fares to help drivers when prices go up as an alternative to the full-scale price increase proposed for this summer.
Cabbies oppose an increase in the flag-fall fare of HK$2 to HK$2.50, which they say will not help them as they believe taxi owners will push up rents for their vehicles.
Yau Shing-mu, undersecretary for transport, told the Legislative Council's transport panel - who voted to oppose the increase - that a surcharge would not solve the problem caused by surging fuel prices.
He said variations in taxi fares would lead to confusion and possibly disputes. Legislative amendments would have to be introduced to make a surcharge possible.
Lawmaker Leung Yiu-chung said the idea of surcharges was put forward years ago but the government had done nothing. 'Can you [the government] tell me what you have done for the past five years?' he said.
He also accused the government of undermining Legco, saying he expected the fare increase to be approved despite opposition from lawmakers.
The proposed flag-fall fare would increase by HK$2 to HK$22 in the urban area and to HK$17 on Lantau, and by HK$2.50 to HK$19 in the New Territories.