Hong Kong: the battleground between taxi and Uber

Date: 5 JUN 2018posted by Car Rentaledited by WinX

This new age of mobility services, many cities have adopted ride-hailing and/or ride-sharing services to offer consumers more choices from the traditional taxi market. Hong Kong is an example of the traditional taxi market battling this new age of mobility. Hong Kong is infamous for the poor taxi service standards. Common complaints include rudeness, overcharging fares and refusing to passengers rides. And even a report released by the Hong Kong Consumer Council which urges the city to legalize ride-hailing services has been met by firm resistance by coalitions of taxi drivers and operators.

The latest government figures show there are more than 18,000 taxis in the city. A coalition of the taxi industry warned of retaliation of the council's report and even threatened legal action. "We are now seeking legal advice," Don Li Lam-Cheung of the Association for the Rights of Liberty Taxis Drivers. "If the government actually adopts the Consumer Council's suggestions to legalize ride-hailing firms in Hong Kong, we won't rule out launching a judicial review against the government as such policy would hurt the taxi industry." He goes on to continue how taxi operators have to pay a large payment to purchase a taxi license while the new platform operators don't need to pay for licensing fees. Another group, the Association for Taxi Industry Development, wanted the council to review their stance on the issue accusing the council of foul play. They accuse the council of encouraging consumers to use ride-hailing firms such as Uber by not condemning their illegal operations. Uber has been operating illegally in the city without a car-rental permit and third party insurance since 2014.

The council denied the allegations and added: "In fact, we have warned consumers about risks of taking such rides, such as the lack of third-party insurance." "Our study was meant to examine the different approaches adopted by overseas governments in dealing with these emerging service providers and come up with suggestions on their sustainable development in Hong Kong." Under the council's proposal, existing taxi drivers could still be viable if ride-hailing services are legalized. They predict legalizing the service will attract three to 11 different operators into the city. As of the moment, only 1500 private vehicles are licensed for car rentals.

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