Name: Christopher Wong Age: 47 Occcupation: Taxi owner and driver Career path: At the age of 31, after working in a garment factory since leaving school, I was absolutely bored. I started thinking that driving a taxi would give me some freedom and would be a reasonable way of earning a living. While I was still at the garment factory, I took my driving licence and then my taxi driver's exam and, after passing, joined a big Hong Kong company as a driver. I saved really hard, got to know my way around Hong Kong Island and 15 months later was able to buy my first taxi. In those days, my car and the taxi licence cost HK$240,000, but now a licence alone costs HK$2.65 million. Christopher's Day: I get up at 5 am every day and my partner, who drives the overnight shift, brings my taxi to the street where I live in Western at 5.30 am. I can't be late because there is nowhere to park and we have to swap over quite quickly. After many years in the business, I am lucky to have regular orders every day. I fetch friends and old-time customers. Some go to the gym, others go swimming in Repulse Bay. My schedule is fixed until 7.30 am when I stop in Mid-Levels for a noodle breakfast outside a shop where taxis can park until the traffic starts at 8 am. Then I start cruising for business and I would say that on average I carry about 30 people until lunch at 1.30 pm. Mostly, I drive on the island and I would say that the majority of people I drive are businessmen going to commercial areas, but occasionally I go to the airport. I look forward to lunch because for many years I have met up at San Yuet Restaurant in North Point with taxi driver friends. The more of us there are, the more dishes we can order and, this way, lunch only costs about HK$45 a day. There is metered parking in Tin Hau Temple Road and so we can stay as long as we like. I usually start work again at 3 pm and then work until 5 pm when my partner takes over. During the past few years, business has become steadily worse and the afternoons can be especially quiet. I have done my time driving at night and I don't like it. Sometimes people are drunk and actually after 10 pm the streets are very quiet. I suppose I like what I do - it gives me freedom to work on my own without a boss breathing down my neck. Salary: A minimum of HK$10,000 a month. Ambition: To earn more money and see my two sons well educated overseas. Name: Yuk Yee Wu Age: 37 Occupation: Female taxi driver Career path: I was born in Hong Kong and started working in my family's garment business when I left school. I had always wanted to drive a taxi because I saw it as a way to make money and do something interesting. Nobody in my family had ever been a taxi driver and a lot of people were surprised and told me that it wasn't a woman's job. I saved money, got my driver's licence and then, in 1984, I got my licence for driving a taxi. Since then, I have rented a taxi which costs me HK$300 from 8 am until 4.30 pm and I must also pay for petrol. Yee's day: I live in Western, get up at 5 am and have breakfast, then my taxi arrives at around 6 am. The first thing I do is wash the car to make it look respectable, then I start cruising for passengers at 7 am. If I am not lucky enough to pick up a passenger, then I start driving around Western. Sometimes I find a passenger straight away and sometimes it takes half an hour. Of course, it is worrying not to find passengers because all the time I am paying for the taxi. I need to take as many passengers as possible, so I don't stop for lunch. I just grab something cheap that I can eat in the car. I would say that on an average day I drive about 35 people mostly around Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. I finish working at 4.30 pm. Lately, business hasn't been good because the traffic is bad and despite what passengers think taxi drivers lose money in traffic. We are all finding that less people are taking taxis, maybe because of the worsening economy, and the traffic is bad, especially in Central. I don't care who is in the back, in fact I don't even look because it's very bad manners to look at someone in the rear view mirror. I seldom talk to people and often have trouble with male passengers. Some get very naughty and start asking me what I am doing after my shift. I tell them that if they don't stop talking I will drive them to the nearest police station and that usually shuts them up. Male taxi drivers treat me as one of them. During the day, I always have Chinese radio on and when I feel sleepy, I turn it up. Sometimes, if I get into a heavy traffic jam then I close my eyes for a few seconds, just a little nap. I don't mind being a taxi driver, but I thought I would make more money than this. Salary: HK$9,000 in a good month. Ambition: To earn more money and travel.