Hong Kong’s Transport Department says grievances against the city’s taxi drivers rose significantly in 2023 for a variety of offences, including overcharging, refusing hire, and failure to take the quickest or easiest routes to a destination. Authorities recorded a total of 1,006 taxi service-related complaints last year, up by 75% from the 574 logged in 2022, and far exceeding the 464 received in 2021.

The figures were released by acting Secretary for Transport and Logistics Liu Chun-san in response to a recent question in the LegCo regarding complaints involving taxis within the past three years. In 2023, the department received the most complaints about cabbies refusing to accept passengers (361), following by accusations of overcharging (340), not taking the most direct routes (277), and not driving to a place indicated by passengers (28). In addition, there were 4,585 accidents involving taxis in 2023, up from 3,632 in 2022 and 4,153 in 2021.

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However, officials added that fewer Hongkongers used taxis in 2021 and 2022 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in fewer complaints being logged in those years. In addition, police statistics showed that the number of enforcement actions rose by 47.3% to 140 in 2023 from 95 the previous year. The force handled only 49 cases in 2021.

The news comes just as the Hong Kong Taxi Council launched a three-month courtesy campaign to help cab drivers understand the importance of politeness and to improve communication with passengers. As part of the initiative, there will be courtesy ambassadors at some of the territory’s busiest taxi stands to give out leaflets and souvenirs to passengers and drivers. This is part of the Hong Kong’s new hospitality drive to make tourists feel more welcome in the city.

Header image credits: davidf via Canva

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From the Middle East to the Far East and a couple of places in between, Anjali has lived in no fewer than seven cities in Asia, and has travelled extensively in the region. She worked as a lifestyle journalist in India before coming to Hong Kong, where her favourite thing to do is island-hopping with her daughter. You can check out her musings on motherhood, courtesy her Instagram profile.

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