Public light bus driver's rip-off

I WRITE to add my name to the surely growing list of passengers ''held to ransom'' by a driver of a public light bus (PLB) in the early evening of Friday, August 20, as a result of the No 8 Signal being hoisted.

I was charged $30 by the driver of a PLB (registration supplied to the South China Morning Post) for the journey from Exchange Square to Pokfulam Road, a journey that normally costs $6.

Like most of the other passengers, I was outraged by this flagrant abuse of a public service. Are drivers legally able to charge whatever they deem a suitable fare for providing a service in demand at such a time? I understand that the Royal Observatory hoists the signal in ample time for the population of Hong Kong (including bus drivers) to return home. Having queued for 11/2 hours to board a bus to Pokfulam, I was not in a frame of mind to dispute the fee, fearing that all other drivers would charge the same amount.

I await to hear what action is to be taken against such drivers, and a refund of $24 from the driver concerned. I have discovered that PLB's with red markings are privately owned and it is therefore difficult to know where to turn to direct this complaint. Any ideas? No joy from the Transport Department.