An increase of at least HK$3 (38 US cents) in taxi fares , starting in July, might be seen as a reasonable response to the challenges facing operators amid rising costs and falling revenues during the pandemic. It is the first adjustment since 2017. But the move, approved by the Executive Council last week, has pleased no one. Passengers, unhappy with the shoddy and outdated service offered by the industry, understandably feel the increase is undeserved. The industry, meanwhile, is also dissatisfied and disappointed. It wanted a rise of HK$6, twice the level that has been approved. Hong Kong taxis perform an important role in a city where only a minority drive their own cars. Their fares remain cheaper than other parts of the world. A 6km journey in London will cost two or three times as much. But the latest increase in fares, of up to almost 14 per cent, is substantial. It contributes to inflationary pressure. Passengers are entitled to receive something in return. The standards of service must improve. Get ready to pay HK$3 more per taxi ride in Hong Kong this summer The taxi industry – monopolised by wealthy licence holders rather than drivers – has, for decades, used its political clout to resist change. The result is a poor service that has failed to move with the times. No wonder the ride-hailing firm Uber remains popular, even though it is not legal. A plan to permit three franchises to operate a premium ride-hailing taxi service was years in the making, but opposed by the industry and ultimately scrapped in 2020, with the challenging economic situation cited as the reason. Now, a new licence scheme proposal has been put forward by the government to allow operators to upgrade their fleet. This is seen by some as an attempt to head off calls for Uber to be legalised, but it should be seen as a step to complement rather than combat Uber. It is astonishing that the city’s taxis still lack basic facilities, such as the availability of e-payment, Wi-fi, GPS, and wheelchair access. A polite, accommodating driver and a safe journey would also be appreciated. Hong Kong’s taxi industry is ripe for reform. Low standards should no longer be tolerated. As fares rise, it is time to increase competition, allow ride-hailing, and provide passengers with an efficient, modern service.