Hong Kong to step up action against illegal ride-hailing services, taxi drivers over ‘golden week’ holiday

Hong Kong to step up action against illegal ride-hailing services, taxi drivers over ‘golden week’ holiday

Hong Kong authorities will step up law enforcement on illegal ride-hailing services and rogue taxi drivers over the coming Labour Day “golden week” holiday, while deploying more volunteers at the Peak Tram terminus to help tourists.

The Travel Industry Authority said on Friday that it would conduct more inspections of tourist attractions, control points, restaurants and shops over the mainland China holiday spanning May 1 to May 5.

The watchdog, together with police, will also allocate more manpower to enhance promotion and education among tourism industry professionals.

A recruitment scheme for volunteers will be expanded from nightlife district Lan Kwai Fong to new locations such as the Peak Tram terminus in Central.

Volunteers will be stationed at taxi ranks to fill out information cards detailing the vehicle’s registration number, destination and estimated fare before each journey.

“Police decided to expand this scheme from May 1 to 5 to provide a better travel experience for tourists in Hong Kong,” said Inspector Lai Cheuk-fung of the force’s investigation and support division (road safety) said.

“We hope this multi-agency collaboration will bring unlicensed taxi drivers to justice.”

Senior investigator Mark Cheng, of the Travel Industry Authority, said the watchdog estimated about 680 tours from the mainland would visit Hong Kong over the holiday, bringing more than 26,000 visitors to popular areas in the city.

“We will deploy more manpower to inspect major control points, shops registered with us, and the restaurants which are going to host tourists,” he said. “We will make sure everything is in order.”

Hong Kong gearing up for 800,000 mainland visitors over ‘golden week’ holiday

The government is expecting 1 million trips in and out of the city on May 1 alone.

The force last month launched a scheme to recruit volunteers who were stationed at taxi ranks at Lan Kwai Fong to provide tourists with information of their rides.

It aimed to combat unlicensed drivers offering rides to customers.

Lai said on Friday that the force had seen “significant” decline in drivers violating the law. He added that more than 1,000 tourists had benefited from the initiative.

Hong Kong tourism sector hoping for 30% bump in visitors over ‘golden week’

Police arrested five taxi drivers suspected of overcharging in the first quarter this year, he said, adding the force would provide the total number of arrests over the next two weeks after the end of the holiday.

Hong Kong is notorious for its taxi services. In the first eight months of 2023, there were 2,701 complaints, surpassing the total number of pre-pandemic cases recorded throughout 2019.

Of the eight-month figure, 1,073 involved cabbies refusing to take passengers, 756 cases concerned unnecessary detours and 745 were for overcharging.



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