Hong Kong taxi drivers deserve sympathy, not condemnation
I refer to the recent Hong Kong government proposal to penalise taxi drivers for poor performance (“Penalty points plan to improve taxi service”, May 18)
I believe some complaints against taxi drivers can be rather petty, as are some of the 18 offences stipulated by the Transport Department under the proposed demerit system.
For instance, overcharging can be avoided if passengers suggest the route they wish to take; failure to provide the right change can be avoided if we do not treat taxis as vending machines.
The point is, are we being too fastidious? We pay a certain amount as a taxi fee and expect six-star service. We forget that taxi drivers are but fellow humans. Like us, they have their moods and weaknesses.
Most passengers may be unaware that taxi drivers have to pay high rents to the taxi groups before they can drive the vehicle. Also, the amount they earn is minimal and many struggle to provide for their families.
Competition from ride-hailing services like Uber has added to the pressure on the industry, as passengers feel traditional taxis often do not measure up.
I urge the people of Hong Kong to give our taxi drivers some breathing space. After all, they are trying to make a decent living through providing a convenient mode of public transport.
Most taxi drivers are actually very kind and honest: I had my purse returned to the police station once when I left it in a taxi. They are ready to share their wealth of knowledge and experience, too, if passengers chat them up.
An elderly taxi driver once told me, “ Before you comment on someone else, ask yourself how you yourself have done.” Isn’t that sound advice for all of us?
Try to make the ride enjoyable for both yourselves and the taxi drivers. Hong Kong needs more positivism.
Jacqueline Kwan, Mid-Levels