Hong Kong taxi drivers should ask themselves why people prefer Uber

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 July, 2015, 5:30pm
UPDATED : Monday, 17 August, 2015, 10:16am

I note that Hong Kong's much maligned taxi drivers are up in arms over the encroachment of their business by such "horrors" as Uber, Grab Taxi or any other number of new technological advances.

These advances will help the paying public have a choice in whether they want to arrive at their destination with their stomach in their mouths, the contents of their shopping bags all over the floor, deafened by the radio, or leaving the taxi with the warm smell of stale cigarettes that attach to my clothes like a moth to a light bulb.

Despite taking a taxi three or four times a day, I find Uber to be a godsend as far as quality of service and politeness are concerned, and, to top it all, a journey that does not involve G-forces, speeding and drivers hovering over the accelerator and break at the same time.

I can even rate the driver, with remedial action follow-up if I gave a low rating. (Imagine the shock of rating our taxi drivers in Hong Kong on a five-star grading).

Instead of Hong Kong taxi drivers arranging a go-slow (which is certainly how I would prefer to be driven), they should be the first to fight threats to their business by asking why firms such as Uber are attracting such high levels of business when it is generally more expensive to use.

It is not for prestige, but because it is safer and you end up having a pleasant journey.

Uber and the other services are not the threat; especially as Uber allows users to call normal Hong Kong taxis. The threat is that Hong Kong is not adapting to the market demands that technology and new business offer.

Taxi drivers who have spent vast sums of money on a licence are allowing their industry to be sabotaged by poor service of a few of their fellow drivers.

We are an international city, and that requires us to adapt to global levels of service. Considering Hong Kong is doing all it can to attract business to the region, we need to be seen as a bit more entrepreneurial in our focus, not sucking air through our teeth in disapproval of progress. Without such progress, we would still have rickshaws and sedan chairs to get us out of the pub at 2am.

Callan Anderson, Quarry Bay