Why Hong Kong taxis shouldn’t be run off the road by Uber
I refer to the 28 local Uber drivers who were fined for driving a car for hire without a permit (“Uber drivers guilty of offering illegal rides”, July 18). This is an apt reminder to the public of the illegal nature of the local Uber service and the unfair competition imposed on the taxi trade.
The ride-hailing service providers come from different occupations. They charge more than taxis, but then their vehicles are new and well-equipped. Taxis do not seem to measure up. Their interiors are often old and threadbare, the sound system only average. Tissues and Wi-fi are not available either, and drivers can sometimes be impolite.
However, most taxi drivers I meet are friendly. They are keen to share their stories and work hard for a living.
It is understandable why some of them are resistant to change. They may not have received higher education and are mostly uninformed about technology. They just remember the road maps by heart. Moreover, few young workers are willing to join the trade because the salary and welfare packages are poor, and prefer to drive buses or minibuses instead.
My observation is that taxi drivers in general do not feel offended at Uber taking away their business. They are broad-minded enough to accommodate development in society. It is just us Hongkongers who are not tolerant enough to accommodate the sometimes less-than-perfect taxi service. Co-existence should be the order of the day.
Jacqueline Kwan, Mid-Levels