The South China Morning Post on January 8, 1923, acknowledged it had been beaten to the scoop, reporting: “The Hongkong Telegraph was able to announce on Saturday the details of a scheme for the establishment of a service for taxi-cars, and the proposal has been one of the principal topics of conversation over the weekend. […] it is hoped to have 30 cars on the streets before June. […]They will not be congregated in the centre of the city but will have their stands wherever there is likely to be a call for them, competing with trams, rickshaws and chairs in convenience and charge.

“Hongkong’s taxis are to be identical with those in London, meters and all. […] They will be able to carry four people, and the fares will be based on ‘full cars,’ – i.e. it will be as cheap for four to ride as for one. The fare will be 40 cents a mile.”

Hong Kong unimpressed by arrival of the first motor cars

The formation of the Hongkong and Kowloon Taxi-cab Co, Ltd was reported in the Post on April 8. The story ran that “Citroen Landaulette taxis of 11.4 horse-power, capable of a speed of 35 miles an hour, will be used. They will be fitted with engines and chassis similar to those used recently in motoring across the Sahara desert, a feat which is attributed to their capacity for hard work.”

On May 7, 1923, the newspaper reported: “The company has received permission from the Government for the taxis to ply for hire in the streets and to use certain stands while waiting for fares, in the same way as rickshaws and chairs now operate.”

Who was the first driver to use the Cross Harbour Tunnel?

An advert in the classified section of the Post on June 8, 1923, read: “200 Young Men wanted to learn to drive TAXI-CABS. Salary $30.00 per month (when qualified).”

Masters of the Sahara they might have been, but the taxis must have struggled with Hong Kong Island’s vertiginous terrain. It was reported on January 12, 1924, that a new batch had been ordered that were “specially constructed for the Hongkong side, being geared for the hills, an entire new back axle having been fitted.”