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Hong Kong taxis

Hong Kong taxi drivers seek 25 per cent rise in base fares, citing mounting costs

Government still needs to approve proposal, which would also raise the cost for distance travelled and a surcharge for carrying birds or animals

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 September, 2018, 7:17pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 September, 2018, 10:36pm

Hong Kong taxi drivers are seeking a 25 per cent rise in base fares as they battle rising costs and dwindling manpower.

It would be another blow to the wallets of the city’s many taxi passengers, coming on the heels of large increases of base fares from ride-hailing app Uber, and its introduction of waiting fees.

Flag fall on red taxis, which serve the city’s urban areas, could rise HK$6 (US$0.76) to hit HK$30 under a proposal, a source told the Post. The cost for every 200 meters travelled after the first 2km would rise to HK$1.9, an increase of 20 cents, the source said.

Drivers also want to raise the surcharge for passengers travelling with animals or birds by a dollar to HK$6, to align it with the baggage surcharge.

The latest application is pending government approval and new fares are likely to take effect next year.

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Ng Kwan-shing, chairman of the Taxi Dealers and Owners Association, said New Territories taxi drivers had yet to decide how much of a fare rise they would ask for. Flag fall in a green New Territories cab is HK$20.50, and HK$19 in a light blue Lantau Island cab.

“The magnitude will be big,” he said, adding that a decision was imminent. “We have seen insurance policies cost some 10 per cent more and new taxis cost about 40 per cent more.”

He said a new taxi costs about HK$360,000, compared with about HK$260,000 a year ago.

The Transport Department said it had received fare rise application from urban taxis, but not from New Territories or Lantau taxis.

A spokeswoman confirmed the Post’s reports on the details of the fare proposal.

A red taxi driver, who preferred not to be named, said the fare rise was necessary as the industry was plagued by a shortfall of about 2,000 drivers and what they earned could hardly offset rising costs.

Last month, Uber, one of the local taxi industry’s biggest competitors, lifted the base fare for trips on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon to HK$18 – an 80 per cent and 157 per cent increase, respectively. Flag fall for Uber trips in the New Territories would remain at HK$8.