Date
28 July 2017
Uber has steadily built up its clientele, eating into the business of taxi drivers. Photo: Reuters
Uber has steadily built up its clientele, eating into the business of taxi drivers. Photo: Reuters

Taxi groups mull higher base fare request as Uber hurts income

Taxi operators in Hong Kong are considering filing a renewed application to the government to raise their flag-down fares as they face intense competition from car-hailing firm Uber, Headline Daily reported Monday.

To Sun-tong, director of the taxi branch of the Motor Transport Workers General Union, was quoted as saying that taxi drivers earn about 10 percent less than they used to before Uber came on the scene.

Uber has lured some taxi drivers away to work for the firm as part-time drivers at night.

They find that they can earn more by doing so, which has caused the taxi industry suffer further, To said.

He urged the government to treat seriously the problem of a rise in the number of “pak pai” cars — vehicles for hire without government permits, such as Uber cars — that hurt the earnings of taxi drivers.

A part-time Uber driver said he can earn HK$50 (US$6.45) more from Uber for each HK$100 fare than in his daytime taxi business, as he does not need to pay rent for the cab to a taxi company.

After failing to get their flag-down fares raised last year, taxi groups are now considering proposing several options again to help increase drivers’ income, including adding HK$3 to the current flag-down fare and one HK cent to each incremental charge.

The report cited an unnamed source as saying, however, that some groups are hesitant about proposing a fare hike, as they worry that might drive customers further to Uber.

Although the taxi industry has been claiming that Uber’s operations are illegal in Hong Kong, many people now prefer Uber to taxis, the drivers of which are often criticized for trying to cheat passengers on fares.

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TL/AC/FL

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