The government has proposed a demerit point system to deter rampant bad behavior among Hong Kong taxi drivers.
Under the scheme, which was submitted to the Committee on Taxi Service Quality (CTSQ) in late April, cabbies who cheat and select their passengers, or commit other offenses will receive penalty points, an accumulation of which will result in the suspension of their license, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The CTSQ was formed in January this year to discuss strategies and measures to enhance the service quality of the city’s 18,000 taxis.
Offenses specified in the new system will carry different penalty points.
Ten points will be deducted for serious offenses, including overcharging, soliciting, refusing hire, and tampering with taximeters.
If a taxi driver fails to give sufficient change, refuses to issue a receipt or park in places other than taxi stands, five points will be deducted.
Failing to turn on the light on the “TAXI” sign on top of their vehicle at night, being untidy or wearing inappropriate clothes at work will result in a three-point deduction.
Those who have received 15 demerit points within a two-year period will have their license suspended for three months, and six months for repeaters.
In addition to the demerit point system, the government may also seek higher fines and longer prison terms for offenders, a spokesperson for the Transport and Housing Bureau said.
The proposals will be submitted to the Legislative Council next year, the spokesperson said.
While supporting the introduction of the penalty point system, Civic Party lawmaker Jeremy Tam Man-ho, who is a member of the committee, have reservations about some of the penalties.
For example, he said, it would be unreasonable to deduct five points from a taxi driver just because he does not have enough change for his passenger.
To Sun-tong, of the Motor Transport Workers General Union (Taxi Drivers, Kowloon Branch), said the point deduction system may put great pressure on taxi drivers, adding that some of the offenses are not quite clear.
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