View Full Version : Taxi Vans
March 12th, 2006, 06:21 AM
March 8, 2006
Government Press Release
Steering group set to tackle 'taxi' vans
A steering group with members from three bureaux will be set up to tackle illegal transport services at the policy level, Secretary for the Environment, Transport & Works Dr Sarah Liao says.
The bureaux are:
* Environment, Transport & Works;
* Economic Development & Labour; and
She said the existing task force on airport passenger and goods transport will continue its operation.
Speaking to reporters after meeting taxi-trade representatives today, Dr Liao said enforcement against illegal transport services will be stepped up. Publicity will also be strengthened to educate the public and drivers about the legal requirements.
Dr Liao pointed out there is no need to revise existing laws. The Government will explore long-term measures to tackle illegal transport services and consider new measures on which the transport trade have reached consensus.
She called on taxi drivers to voice their opinions through established channels and avoid taking radical actions.
March 25th, 2006, 07:37 AM
Van and taxi drivers in turf war protest
Hong Kong Standard
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Drivers of vans and taxis staged separate protests after Liberal Party vice chairman Selina Chow suggested setting apart lanes for cargo vans and taxis at Hong Kong International Airport.
The protests Friday serve as a backdrop to the growing tension in both industries as the proposal, if enacted, will prevent cargo van drivers from picking up passengers at the airport.
Van drivers see recent efforts to limit seat numbers and this latest proposal as an attempt to squeeze them out of the market.
Taxi drivers who service the airport argue that van drivers squeeze into their already tight spaces outside of the airport arrivals gate as they wait for passengers to take to Hong Kong or Kowloon.
Hong Kong Union of Light Van Employees chairman Ip Moon-lam, said the union strongly protested against the proposed legislation amendment to stop van operators carrying passengers.
"We are working in a gray area," he said. "According to the law, we are allowed to carry goods after receiving an approval from the Transport Department. The law does not say we are not allowed to carry passengers.
"The government's rush to amend the law will only affect the cargo industry as we are part of the industry and this will affect the survival of van operators."
Airport police Superintendent Blake Hancock told the Legislative Council the police will study the idea and welcomed any proposal that improves the situation.
"Our stance is to support any arrangement that will help with public order," said Transport Department principal information officer Simon Tam.
He said the department had met only three days ago to discuss the matter of reducing the number of seats in light goods vans but that no government-led plan is in place to change anything about how taxi or van drivers operate.
It is not likely that fuel price pressure on taxi drivers is behind the need for a separate taxi lane at the airport, Tam said.
Fifty van drivers added to the protests by driving slowly round the government's Murray Building in Central.
They said they wanted to thwart separate efforts to amend a law allowing them to fit five people into their vans.
A proposal sent to Legco wants to limit that number to only three.
April 7th, 2006, 05:46 AM
June 1st, 2006, 02:04 AM
Taxi drivers taken for ride
Hong Kong Standard
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Van drivers are taking advantage of a loophole in the law to ferry passengers to the airport, police say.
A police spokesman said some van drivers have used the loopholes to ask "commission" from the passengers on top of charging for freight.
Currently, it is illegal for unlicensed hire car or van operators to pick up passengers. However van drivers are not breaking the law when they carry both goods and passengers if they only charge for transporting the goods.
This loophole has long been slammed by taxi drivers who believe they are being robbed of fares by van drivers.
In November 2002, about 500 taxi drivers blocked the taxi rank at Hong Kong International Airport for two hours to protest against drivers of vans and illegal hire cars who they say are approaching passengers and offering them lower rates for the journey into town. Although the police promised to help combat the illegal practice at the time, the problem has not disappeared.
In February 2003, taxi drivers at the airport warned they would strike again as they were furious at unlicensed hire cars taking passengers away from them.
Some 400 urban and New Territories taxis often have to wait for up to five hours at the airport to pick up passengers, according to the drivers, who blame the police for not doing enough to stop the illegal operators.
A recent police statement said: "The police arrested two van drivers who they suspected of receiving commission from the passengers on April 13. The case was later transferred to the Department of Justice."
The police told Sing Tao Daily, sister paper of The Standard, that the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau, Transport Department and Department of Justice are "studying the situation."
The taxi fare from the airport to Central is about HK$340, but unlicensed car operators charge HK$230 for the same trip.
Sixty-five illegal hire car drivers and touts were prosecuted from 2000 to October 2002, with 44 convictions.
The maximum penalty for illegal touting is a fine of HK$10,000 and one month's imprisonment.
Drivers of unlicensed hire cars face a HK$10,000 fine and three months' jail.
April 23rd, 2007, 06:06 AM
Review of taxi industry will look at fares system
19 April 2007
South China Morning Post
The fare structure for taxis is set to undergo a major revamp with the launch by the Transport Advisory Committee of a year-long review of the charges system.
Commissioned by the government, the study is the first step to setting in motion an adjustment of fares. The industry has been plagued by controversy after some taxi drivers, in a bid to boost business, began offering discounts of up to 40 per cent for customers travelling long distances.
Announcing the review yesterday, Transport Advisory Committee chairwoman Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah insisted the findings would not necessarily result in a fare reduction, but would instead explore ways of enhancing the industry's competitiveness.
"The aim of the review was to examine whether the operation of the taxi market had changed, and whether different modes of operation could be introduced."
"Any changes in the fare-charging mechanism and legislation would affect the trade and the public. The committee won't draw any conclusions before completing the review and exchanging views with the trade and the public."
The committee will also take into account the findings of a similar study conducted by an alliance of 27 taxi associations in March to review the industry's mode of operation and the charging system in light of the prevalence of the so-called discount gangs.
The review will be one of several initiatives that could change the landscape of the taxi industry, including an ongoing study by the Hong Kong Productivity Council to examine the introduction of London taxis and the introduction of about 600 taxis with global positioning systems later this year.