Hong Kong’s taxi trade is seeking approval for a hefty fare increase, just months after its latest rise, as bus companies ask for a 10 to 20 per cent fare hike.
Ng Kwan-sing of the Taxi Dealers & Owners Association told Commercial Radio on Thursday that the trade plans to ask the Transport Department to approve a fare rise “in the near future.” Details were being finalised but owners wanted a HK$6 rise in flagfall.
The flagfall for urban taxis went up by HK$3 to HK$27 only in July. But Ng said the trade has been “struggling” due to inflation, the rise in fuel costs exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine, and an increase in insurance charges.
According to Ng, their initial proposal this time was to raise flagfall by HK$6. “Last time we asked for a fare raise, the government took five years to respond. We had applied for a HK$6 increase… in the end it was halved,” he added.
At the same time, the Transport Department has announced that bus companies are seeking a 10 to 20 per cent fare increase.
Frankie Yick, who represents the transport sector in the Legislative Council, told RTHK on Thursday that to alleviate the need for fare rises the government should let bus companies expand their business operations, such as opening tuck shops at terminals or using their depots for commercial purposes.
He said the government should use part of its income from MTR operations to support other transport service providers. “Whenever the MTR opens a new line, it also affects other public transport companies,” Yick said.
Another lawmaker Ben Chan called in the same programme for the government to subsidise bus companies’ fuel costs. Chan said he hoped authorities could crack down on illegal car hire services to relieve the financial pressure for taxi drivers.