20th November 2023 – (Hong Kong) Over 17 taxi groups in Hong Kong are preparing to go on strike this Wednesday (22nd) during non-peak hours to protest against ride-hailing platform Uber. The details of the strike will be announced later. According to sources, the taxi groups have agreed to strike from 11am to 2pm, aiming to minimise the impact on passengers in the initial phase of action. Approximately 400 taxis, mostly from the New Territories, plan to gather and park in open-air parking lots in the area. It is reported that representatives from the Transport Department visited Hong Kong Taxi Owners’ Association two days ago (18th) to discuss the issue, but no commitment was made regarding a meeting arrangement.
Sources revealed that the 17 taxi groups discussed the strike schedule on the 18th November, considering the impact on taxi drivers’ income if the strike occurred during the afternoon non-peak hours. They decided to schedule the strike from 11am to 2pm, aiming to minimise the inconvenience to passengers. They are concerned that an excessive strike action may prevent many citizens from getting a taxi and hinder the achievement of their goals. They emphasised that their intention is not confrontation but rather expressing dissatisfaction with certain officials. If their demands are not addressed, they will consider further actions in a second phase.
The specific location of the strike will be announced on the 21st, but it is understood that the taxis will be parked in open-air parking lots in the New Territories. About 300 taxis from the New Territories and approximately 100 from the urban area have expressed their intention to participate. If there is insufficient parking space, the taxis may be parked in different locations depending on the situation. The initiating groups of this action mainly consist of taxi drivers from the New Territories, with a total of around 1,800 taxis under their ownership and management, accounting for over 60% of the taxis in the New Territories. One group even stated, “If they complain about the shortage of taxis, let’s see how many taxis they need before they are willing to stop (referring to Uber).”
According to sources, William Wong, the Chief Transport Officer (Planning/Taxi 1) of the Transport Department, visited the Hong Kong Taxi Owners’ Association two days ago (18th). However, the meeting was scheduled prior to the strike action and was not specifically arranged in response to it. Nevertheless, multiple taxi industry groups took the opportunity to voice their concerns to Wong, requesting legislative amendments to combat illegal taxis and crack down on Uber, as well as discussing ways to increase taxi drivers’ income. Attendees revealed that Wong would need to consult with higher-level officials before making any decisions and no commitment was made regarding a meeting with the initiating groups prior to the strike.
However, some members of the taxi industry believe that they previously organised a slow-driving protest and strike in 2018 against Uber, yet no action has been taken to address the issue even after five years. Therefore, they are skeptical that a meeting arrangement, if made, would be merely perfunctory. They are inclined to conduct a strike action first to assess its effectiveness before considering further measures.