Executive Council set to approve taxi fare increase to approximately HK$29 tomorrow, sources

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13th May 2024 – (Hong Kong) The Executive Council is poised to deliberate on a pivotal proposal to increase taxi fares across the city. As per informed sources, the government has put forth a recommendation to augment the initial flag-down rate by approximately HK$2, raising it to HK$29. This proposed adjustment falls short of the industry’s request for a HK$5 increase.

Chow Kwok-keung, Chairman of the Hong Kong Taxi and Public Light Bus Association, expressed a mix of disappointment and resignation. “It’s better than no increase at all,” he stated, highlighting the industry’s dwindling hope amidst escalating operational costs. The industry plans to collate more data on these rising costs to support a more substantial fare increase in future proposals.

Vice-chairman of The Association for Taxi Industry Development, Ng Kam-wah, noted that despite the annual 30% increase in insurance and maintenance expenses, the proposed fare increment does not fully offset these heightened costs. However, he acknowledged public dissatisfaction with taxi services, expressing hope that the establishment of a formal taxi fleet system would enhance service quality and pave the way for a more substantial fare increase in the future.

Taxi operators last witnessed a fare increase in July 2022, where a uniform increment of HK$3 was applied across the board. The recent proposal for a fare hike has been under discussion since March 2023 when the taxi industry collectively agreed on seeking an increase that would raise urban taxi flag-fall rates to HK$32, New Territories to HK$28, and Lantau Island to HK$28. The industry cites doubling insurance premiums and base fees in recent years, with fare increases lagging behind inflation and less frequent than the annual fare revisions by MTR, Hong Kong’s major public transit operator.

Chow also mentioned that the last fare proposal, submitted back in September 2018, was stalled due to socio-political tensions, only to be re-evaluated by the government in April 2022, with approval following three months later.