Hong Kong taxi industry considering premium taxi service to fight Uber



Uber has been arousing controversy around the world and Hong Kong is no exception. Police raided Uber’s Hong Kong office in August and there have been a debate among the society, many slammed the government for failing to keep up with technological breakthroughs.

The taxi industry has been protesting in recent months against private cars and vans using mobile apps to offer paid rides, and criticized unlicensed drivers creating “unfair competition”. By law, vehicles for hire must obtain a hire car permit.

It seems that the taxi industry has realized it is not easy to eliminate unlicensed drivers, they are considering to introduce a premium type of taxi in Hong Kong using better vehicle with in-car WiFi, electronic payment system and improved standard of service, hoping this will bring them victory over Uber.

Hong Kong taxi drivers are said to be bad, in the sense of impolite, refusing a fare, overcharging and not taking the most direct route. Official figures shows passenger complaints against taxi drivers topped 10,060 in 2014, which was the highest since 2003.

In fact hiring private cars and vans is not new in Hong Kong, but they are not as popular as Uber.  Uber drivers also earns more than a taxi driver.

Premium taxi with in-car WiFi, electronic payment system and wheelchair friendly, does exists in Hong Kong but at a small scale with only 50 vehicles, but the company suffers lost due to lack of driver as well as customers.

On the other hand the taxi industry is also planning car-hailing app to rival Uber.

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