Date
23 July 2017
Hong Kong must adopt a new mindset with regard to policies related to taxi services, a private think tank says. Photo: Bloomberg
Hong Kong must adopt a new mindset with regard to policies related to taxi services, a private think tank says. Photo: Bloomberg

Govt must free up private car-rental market, says think tank

The Lion Rock Institute, a think tank that promotes free-market thought, has urged authorities to lend a helping hand to Uber, pointing out that more competition will help improve service quality in the transport industry.  

The non-profit organization cited a survey by conducted by it as showing that nearly 70 percent of the respondents have had bad experiences of local taxi drivers refusing hires, Metro Hong Kong reported.

The survey, which was conducted in person and on the internet in mid-July on 554 people, found that 69.7 percent of those who take taxi three times or more a week had been refused hires in the past six months.

Among those who travel in cabs under three times a week, 58.6 percent said they had been refused hires.

Overall, about 38 percent of the less frequent taxi travelers said they were not happy with the attitude of the taxi drivers, while only 24.43 percent said they were satisfied.

Andrew Shuen Pak-man, co-founder and interim executive director of The Lion Rock Institute, said Hong Kong people are not satisfied with the service quality of local taxi drivers.

The stiff approval mechanism of the government on private car-rental licenses is hampering the improvement of services in the city, he said.

Shuen said he had been told by a person that he had waited for over a year for a license but has yet to hear any response from authorities on his application.

Car-hire apps such as Uber actually shorten the time for drivers to look for customers and the time of the transaction, and would help alleviate traffic congestion over the long run, he said.

The government should look at leveraging modern technology to introduce competition in the industry, Shuen said, calling on the administration to abandon obsolete policies.

Wong Yuk-shan, chairman of the Consumer Council, said will be a good thing if consumers have access to more options.

However, he said that there are some grey areas in the current regulatory and legal regime, and that people should be mindful of risks in relation to new services.

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