22 October 2016
Carpooling shows that Hong Kong people want to help each other. Photo: Ming Pao
Carpooling shows that Hong Kong people want to help each other. Photo: Ming Pao

Carpooling culture in Tai Po brings neighbors closer

Sharing a taxi ride with strangers is illegal in Hong Kong.

However, Albert Lui, a young man from the post-’80s generation, hopes to change the concept and bring people together as a result.

Lui has set up a page, Carpooling for Tai Po-ers, on Facebook recently, and the group is receiving warm responses from netizens living in the district, Ming Pao Daily reported.

The fan page gained more than 6,000 likes in less than a week.

Car owners and passengers can both share their itinerary on the platform in order to arrange the schedule and other details.

Tai Po residents with similar itineraries can share rides. However, drivers can only do this voluntarily, which means they can’t accept fees from passengers.

Lui is a supporter of the sharing economy concept. As a driver himself, he thinks it is not eco-friendly to drive alone.

“Carpooling is nothing new. I’ve always wanted to do it, but I lacked the courage,” he said.

One day, Lui was lining up and waiting for a bus to the airport, but there were more than 200 people in the queue.

That’s when he decided to talk to the other commuters and asked them if they were willing to share a ride.

“If I didn’t need to catch a flight within two hours, I think I wouldn’t ask others to share a taxi ride with me,” he said.

Lui arrived at the airport on time. He also came to the realization that Hong Kong people are willing to help each other out. 

In February, he saw two young ladies thumbing a ride near the Tai Po Mega Mall.

He slowed down his car and opened the window.

“At first I was a bit hesitant to open the door, worrying that they might only want to make fun of me,” he said.

But his willingness to help overcame his initial fear, and asked the two ladies to step in and share a ride.

The young ladies were in fact students from the Hong Kong Institute of Education. They were doing research on the acceptance of hitchhiking in Hong Kong.

Since then, Lui has offered free rides at bus stops from time to time.

Currently, the Facebook group offers at least 20 rides to and from the city and New Territories.

As the administrator of the group, Lui posts articles on the do’s and don’ts of carpooling.

Lui is happy with what he is doing. “The society has become polarized. However, many core values have never disappeared, such as helping each other.”

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