Pressure for a HK$2 increase in the taxi flag fall price is mounting after New Territories operators said they would follow urban taxi companies in proposing the rise. Lantau taxis are expected to do the same. Most of the 37 urban operators agreed at a meeting with transport officials yesterday to seek an increase from HK$18 to HK$20. Wong Yu-ting of a New Territories taxi group said operators of the green rural taxis would also apply to add HK$2 to their current flag fall of HK$14.50. 'What affects [urban taxis] also affects us. Fuel costs, insurance premiums and car parts are not getting any cheaper.' Kwok Chi-piu, of an urban taxi drivers' group, and two allied groups said they would only agree to the proposal if it took effect after Lunar New Year in early February next year. But taxi owners' group representative Cheng Hak-wo said no one really opposed the rise and the so-called dispute over the implementation date was just a gesture of protest from driver unions who were unhappy about not being informed of the proposal earlier. The Transport Department will poll the 37 groups in the coming weeks for their views over the increase - including when it should be implemented. Officials will process the proposal after a consensus is reached during the next meeting next month or in early June. It usually takes authorities at least six months for assessment and consultation on fare rise applications for public transport. A taxi company, Luen Tai, submitted the proposal on April 1 and lobbied support from the industry but did not discuss it with driver unions beforehand. If the government approves the plan, the increase will be on top of a new fare structure introduced 16 months ago that charges more for journeys costing less than HK$70.50. Wong said he hoped that if the rise was approved it would take effect everywhere at the same time unlike the new fare structure, when there was a time lapse during which red urban taxes were charging less for some tips than green ones.