Why smart city Hong Kong needs Uber on the road

    PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 December, 2018, 1:09pm
    UPDATED : Saturday, 01 December, 2018, 1:09pm

    I am writing in response to the article, “Uber eager to help Lam realise vision for a smart city” (November 5).

    Uber is a very popular mode of transport in many cities worldwide, but has not won over Hong Kong officials, and the government has yet to admit the ride-hailing service as a legal transport company. Uber drivers risk being prosecuted for carrying paying passengers without a hire-car permit.

    Recently, Uber has called for a partnership with the Hong Kong government and better relations with the local taxi industry. It has offered solutions for Hong Kong’s plans to become a smart city, as outlined by Carrie Lam. However, the taxi sector has been vehemently opposed towards allowing Uber entry to the city’s transport market, saying it will eat into their earnings and increase competition, threatening their survival.

    However, I believe the government should heed Uber’s call for a dialogue to take urban mobility into the 21st century. Passengers in the “smart city” could then have one more transport choice, especially during rush hour when other public transport may be hard to get.

    Can Uber’s new game plan turn hostile Hong Kong cabbies into partners?

    Moreover, the competition may see taxi service quality improve, and break the monopoly of the trade. Therefore, Uber’s offer to engage in dialogue with taxi operators about the possibility of forming a working partnership is also welcome.

    Andy Chau, Tseung Kwan O