Field notes

Long road to better taxi service in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, taxi drivers rent their vehicles from operators who have paid exorbitant sums for taxi licences. These licences, which can be bought or sold in the market freely, can each cost as much as HK$7 million (S$1.2 million), enough to buy a ti
In Hong Kong, taxi drivers rent their vehicles from operators who have paid exorbitant sums for taxi licences. These licences, which can be bought or sold in the market freely, can each cost as much as HK$7 million (S$1.2 million), enough to buy a tiny new flat.ST PHOTO: CLAIRE HUANG

The government has proposed a new demerit system, over and above current penalties, to rein in errant cabbies.

Overcharge, strike one. Refuse to pick up fare, strike two. No loose change for passengers, another strike. But the list of strikes doesn't end there for the city's 40,000 taxi drivers.

In a refreshing approach to years of gridlock when it comes to improving taxi services, the government has proposed a new demerit point system.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2018, with the headline 'Long road to better taxi services in HK'. Print Edition | Subscribe