Thursday, 7 December 2017

Taxis vs Government

Taxi groups threaten to sue the government if it allows Uber to operate in HK
We're not surprised by two taxi associations up in arms about a recent Consumer Council report that recommended the government relax regulations to allow car-hailing apps like Uber to operate in Hong Kong.

What we are surprised about is the delayed response from the two associations -- this report came out a week ago.

People want more choice of how to get from A to B
The Association for the Rights of Liberty Taxi Drivers and Association for Taxi Industry Development are threatening to sue the government if goes ahead with the council's recommendations.

They do have a good point though -- taxi operators need to pay HK$7 million (US$896,000) for a taxi license, whereas ride-hailing operators don't need to do that.

The Consumer Council had recommended the government make car-hailing services more available in Hong Kong after so many complaints about taxi services being rude, cars are old, overcharging customers and denying passengers rides.

In the report the council also suggested cabbies could take part in the car-hailing industry by setting up their own groups, thus giving consumers more choice in how to get from A to B.

Carrie Lam may side with the taxis groups for political support
Up until now taxi groups had vowed to reform themselves with some chosen drivers to provide better service. But how are we supposed to know which ones they are, and how can we request them?

There were a few other initiatives but I'm not hearing anyone remarking how they had an impressive taxi ride recently.

So this showdown between the taxi associations and the government should be interesting. The government will probably back down as Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor depends on them for support, leaving the rest of Hong Kong grumbling even more about state of taxi services in the city.

Or will she figure out some kind of compromise? Miracles can happen...

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