Hong Kong taxis drivers’ demand for a fare hike is an opportunity to legalise Uber
I am writing in response to your report that taxi drivers have proposed to increase the minimum fare (“Taxi drivers want to raise base fares 25pc as costs bite”, September 14) and that the Transport Department is considering their application. I think this is a great opportunity for the government to legalise Uber while agreeing to increase fares.
Given the pathetic taxi services in Hong Kong, with regular incidents of bad behaviour from taxi drivers, there is no excuse for the government to continue to deprive Hong Kong citizens of a world class taxi service. Continuing to allow old taxis to run does no service to Hong Kong’s image of being “Asia’s world city”. It is hard to understand how the vested interests of a few taxi licence holders can override the larger interest of all Hong Kong citizens.
On our recent visit to New York and Washington, we were amazed at the convenience offered by Uber and Lyft and see no reason why Hongkongers should be left at the mercy of private taxi operators. This is a clear case of bureaucracy at its worst.
Hong Kong could learn from Singapore, which is run like a corporation backed by a highly efficient administration team. That’s why it was ranked second versus Hong Kong’s 68th in the 2017 global Smart City Index compiled by Swedish firm EasyPark from United Nations and European Commission data. Hong Kong’s low ranking in Asia behind Tokyo, Seoul, Osaka, Taipei and Daejeon is despite the government having billions of dollars of surplus cash.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor needs to seriously consider overhauling her administrative team. She may well start with transport.
Arun Garg, Taikoo Shing