Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Taxi Association's U-Turn on Uber

Will taxis finally stop protesting and finally cooperate with Uber?
Just the other day two Hong Kong taxi groups were threatening to sue the government if it followed recommendations by the Consumer Council to relax regulations to allow Uber to operate in the city.

But now there seems to be a complete 180-degree turn, as Uber is interested in working with taxis to share the market.

"... the taxi industry may not have the technology platform like ours to provide tailor-made services," explained Kenneth She Chun-chi, Uber Hong Kong's general manager. "If we cooperate together, they can also make use of our backup customer service and even capitalize on our good image to regain consumer confidence as they are now having an image problem."

Uber's Kenneth She says taxis can benefit from its technology
Wow dragging the Hong Kong taxi industry into the 21st century. How novel!

And the vice-chairman of the Association of Taxi Industry Development Ng Kam-wah is open to the idea of working with the ride-hailing company.

"We think that there is room for the taxi trade to cooperate with Uber as this will be a win-win situation for us," he said. "The taxi industry could benefit form the ride-hailing platform, effective marketing and good customer image of Uber, while Uber can operate legally with the taxi vehicles," he added.

They sound like they are practically singing the same tune.

However, Ng points out that Uber charges a certain percentage of the drivers' income, but he would prefer the charge goes to the customer to pay rather than the driver. He doesn't want drivers' incomes to be affected.

Why is Ng Kam-wah suddenly keen on working with Uber?
But that's the whole point -- Uber helps drivers get customers through its technology so it is only fair that drivers get charged for that. It's just like taxi drivers having to pay for their licenses. Something's gotta give.

And are those crusty taxi drivers in their 60s really going to know how to use the app and deal with these new ways of charging customers and collecting money online?

We find this sudden about face very interesting and wonder what made the taxi association change its mind about Uber.

However here at The Fragrant Harbour we're all about action, not words. If Ng really does get his association moving in adopting Uber's technology and the culture of ride-hailing apps, then transportation in Hong Kong is going to get significantly better.

The ball's in your court, Ng.

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