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Executive Council approves taxi fare adjustments

     The Chief Executive in Council approved today (September 24) adjustments to the urban, New Territories (NT) and Lantau taxi fares, with an increase of $2 in the flagfall charge and an increase of $0.1 in the first stage incremental charge per jump after flagfall. Details of the new fares are as follows:

                      Flagfall charge for the first
                    2 kilometres or any part thereof

                  Urban taxis  NT taxis  Lantau taxis
Existing fare        $20        $16.5        $15
Approved new fare    $22        $18.5        $17

                        Incremental charge
         (the first stage incremental charge per jump
                (i.e. for each 200 metres travelled)
                          after flagfall)

                  Urban taxis  NT taxis  Lantau taxis
                    2-9 km      2-8 km      2-20 km
Existing fare        $1.5        $1.3        $1.3
Approved new fare    $1.6        $1.4        $1.4

     There will be consequential amendments on the charge for the waiting time because of the increase in incremental charge after flagfall. At the same time, the additional fares for NT taxis for each piece of baggage, animal or bird, and telephone booking, will be increased by $1 each (i.e. from $4 to $5). Other charges remain unchanged.

     A spokesman for the Transport and Housing Bureau said that in considering the taxi fare increase applications, the Government has taken into account various factors including changes in revenue and operating costs of taxi operators, public acceptability and the fare differential between taxis and other modes of public transport.

     In January 2013, the urban, NT and Lantau taxi trades came to an agreement and applied separately to the Transport Department (TD) for an increase of the respective flagfall charges by $2, $2.5 and $3, and an increase of the first stage incremental charge per jump after flagfall by $0.1. In addition, the NT taxi trade applied for an increase of the additional fares for each piece of baggage, animal or bird, and telephone booking by $1 each to align the levels of these fares with those of urban and Lantau taxis. The TD discussed these applications with the trades and listened to their views. The Government also consulted the Legislative Council Panel on Transport and the Transport Advisory Committee on the applications.

     "Taxis provide the public with a personalised, point-to-point and more comfortable public transport service. Because of an increase in operating costs of the taxi trades (including fuel expenses, vehicle maintenance and repair expenses, and insurance premium) since the last fare increase in July 2011, the increase in gross operating revenue of the vast majority of frontline drivers has been more than offset by a rise in operating costs and inflation. And in view of an upward trend of inflation, the operating costs of the taxi trades should continue to rise in 2013 and 2014. Meanwhile, the Government is mindful that the fare increase will bring extra transport expenses to passengers. Therefore, in processing the fare increase applications, the Government has duly considered various factors and endeavoured to strike a balance among various concerns so that the adjusted fares are set at a level generally acceptable to stakeholders. The Government has also moderated some of the flagfall increases. The average increase of urban, NT and Lantau taxi fares are 7.11 per cent, 9.04 per cent and 8.83 per cent respectively. They are lower than the forecast increase of around 10 per cent in general price level from the last fare increase to early 2014 and the 10 per cent increase in the Median Monthly Household Income from the last fare increase to the first quarter of 2013. Meanwhile, the taxi fare structure will remain 'front-loaded' with a varying descending scale for incremental charges. As a result, the average increase for short-haul journeys will be higher than that for long-haul ones," the spokesman said.

     As the scale of taxi fares is specified in Schedule 5 to the Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations, legislative amendment is necessary to effect the taxi fare adjustments. The amendment will be tabled in the Legislative Council on October 16 for negative vetting. Upon completion of the procedures, the new fares will take effect from December 8 this year.

    The spokesman said taxi drivers are required to display in a prominent position inside a taxi the fare conversion table specified by the Commissioner for Transport until the taximeter has been calibrated to reflect the new fares approved by the Chief Executive in Council.

    The taxi fare increases should have a negligible impact on the Composite Consumer Price Index (CCPI) in 2013, and will lift the CCPI by 0.03 of a percentage point in 2014.

Ends/Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Issued at HKT 19:03


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