Urban taxi fares set to rise by 17.7 pc

TAXI fares are set to rise by 17.7 per cent in urban areas after the Transport Advisory Committee (TAC) yesterday endorsed a plan that will see flagfalls for red cabs go up from $9 to $11.50.

The cost of travelling every subsequent 200 metres will rise from 90 cents to $1, while surcharges will be revised to $1 per minute of waiting time (up from 90 cents), $5 per piece of luggage and $5 for radio bookings (both up from $4).

The plan, due to come into effect in November once rubber-stamped by Legislative and Executive Councillors, will also see fares rise by 19.2 per cent in the New Territories.

Green cabs will charge a $10 flagfall and 90 cents for every subsequent 200 metres, up from $8 and 80 cents respectively.

TAC chairman Professor Leung Chi-keung said 39 proposals were submitted by industry groups seeking fare rises of between 16 and 36 per cent.

The increases they had endorsed were based on the 16.2 and 22.3 per cent rises in operational costs urban and New Territories taxi companies had faced since the last fare rise in January 1992.

Urban Taxi Drivers' Association chairman Chan Kam-pui welcomed the new fares.

But he urged legislators to back the TAC's decision to endorse an extra 50 cents on the flagfall - the association had proposed just an $11 flagfall - to offset the three-month delay in the introduction of the new fares.

Legislators earlier warned they would veto any increase which was not in line with rising operating costs.

Mr Chan also called on colleagues to accept the increases, estimated to bring an extra $100 in revenue and $50 in net income per shift.

The TAC also endorsed a plan to double on-street parking charges from April next year.

Meters in Causeway Bay, Central, Tsim Sha Tsui, Mongkok and Yau Ma Tei will be the first to be modified to charge $2 per 15 minutes - up from the current $2 per 30 minutes.