Date
24 January 2017
Taxi drivers complain that their incomes have fallen due to private car-rental services that operate through smartphone apps. Photo: RTHK
Taxi drivers complain that their incomes have fallen due to private car-rental services that operate through smartphone apps. Photo: RTHK

Taxi group stages protest against private car-rental services

Members of a taxi industry group staged a protest in Hong Kong Monday, complaining that their incomes have been affected due to private vehicle rental services that operate through mobile apps. 

Some protesters drove about 100 taxis slowly from Sai Wan Ho to the government headquarters in Admiralty, while another group drove from Kowloon Bay, RTHK reported. 

Yip Chung-wai, a spokesperson for the industry group, urged the government to tighten regulations to curb unlicensed private car-rental services.

The participating taxi drivers put green ribbons and banners on their vehicles.

Mobile car-rental services have become increasingly popular in the recent years, taking away business from the licensed taxis.

A taxi driver surnamed Cheng was quoted as saying that their incomes have fallen by HK$200 to HK$300 per day.

Wong Chung-keung, president of the Hong Kong Taxi and Public Light Bus Association, said after a previous protest in early June that illegal carriage by private cars and vans has been on the rise.

Some of the operators even promote their services and recruit drivers publicly, he said. 

People who opt for services from unlicensed operators will be exposing themselves to risk, Wong warned, pointing out that the operators cannot guarantee passenger safety.

He hopes the protests will make the government take some action. If authorities do not take any measures, the taxi drivers will intensify their protests, Wong said.

The Transport Department, meanwhile, said any party that offer rental car services must obtain permits and meet the regulatory requirements.

A spokesman said cases will be passed on to the police if the department receives any complaint about illegal passenger carriage.

Offenders will be fined or jailed and their vehicles could be impounded.

– Contact us at [email protected]

CH/JP/RC

EJ Insight intern reporter

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe