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New measures to facilitate new market entrants and maintain quality of vehicles for hire car services
     The Transport Department (TD) announced today (January 26) that a number of new measures will be introduced with effect from February 1 to facilitate new market entrants and to maintain the quality of vehicles for hire car services.

     "In order to provide more flexibility to potential applicants for hire car permits and facilitate new market entrants, the TD will launch an optional 'pre-application assessment' for any party who is interested in applying for hire car permits. Interested parties may make a request for 'pre-application assessment' without the need to submit private car registration documents. They can then be informed of the likelihood of having their applications for hire car permits approved before further investing and purchasing vehicles," a spokesman for the TD said. 

     For each and every request submitted for "pre-application assessment", the Contract Hire Car Permits Selection Board will be consulted before the TD informs the requestor of the result. It is important to note that the "pre-application assessment" result will only be for reference and will not bind the Commissioner for Transport in exercising the powers to make a decision on an application for hire car permit in accordance with the law when an application is formally submitted.
     To evaluate if an application for hire car permit satisfies the legal requirement of the type of hire car service in the application being "reasonably required", the TD currently considers a whole host of factors when assessing such applications, including hiring records and future service contracts provided by an applicant. To further facilitate new market entrants, special consideration on individual merits may be given for applicants for Private Service (Limousine) Hire Car Permits who are unable to produce the required hiring records or future service contracts. Those applicants should provide adequate justifications and supporting information about the proposed business model/case. They are also required to meet certain special conditions, including the deployment of a brand new vehicle of taxable value of more than $400,000.

     Meanwhile, new requirements for vehicle age will be introduced with effect from February 1 with a view to maintaining a high-quality fleet of hire cars.

     In addition to having a minimum taxable value of over $300,000, vehicles to be deployed under new applications for a Private Service (Limousine) Hire Car Permit should be less than seven years old from the date of first registration as a "brand new vehicle" in Hong Kong (i.e. aged 6 years or below) at the time of the application. 

     All applications for Private Service (Limousine) Hire Car Permits submitted on or after February 1 will also be subject to a new hire car permit condition that upon replacement of a vehicle, if any, the replacement vehicle should not be older than the vehicle being replaced. The same requirement will also be applied as a hire car permit condition for all existing private service (limousine) hire cars replaced on or after February 1, 2019.

     For details of the "pre-application assessment" and vehicle age requirements for hire cars, please visit the TD's website (www.td.gov.hk/en/public_services/licences_and_permits/hire_car_permit/index.html).
Ends/Thursday, January 26, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:30
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