Hong Kong is considering introducing a higher-class limousine taxi service as the government reviews the city’s taxi service, Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said.
Speaking at a Legislative Council meeting, Cheung said the government is studying a number of issues including service standards, charging schemes and license conditions, and is hoping to hammer out the details by the end of the year, Ming Pao Daily reported.
Legislator Charles Mok, representing the information technology sector, slammed the government for failing to keep up with technological breakthroughs in the transport industry.
Mok said Hong Kong has failed meet the needs of the riding public, unlike Singapore and Shanghai which have legalized the on-demand car hiring service.
In response, Cheung said the government is open to car-hiring services using the internet or smartphone apps.
However, he stressed that business operating platforms must comply with the law.
If a private car is used for the commercial transport of passengers, the owner or operator must first apply for a car-hiring permit, Cheung said.
He also noted that the emergence of share-ride services has sparked controversies worldwide, adding that it is illegal to operate such service in places such as South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.
The bureau continues to monitor the latest developments in such services, Cheung said.
Lawmaker Frankie Yick Chi-ming for the transport constituency said the government must not loosen its grip on car-hiring services, or else it would encourage more private car owners to join the business and increase the load of the city’s roads.
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