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The Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2018 gazetted
     The Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2018 was gazetted today (February 9).
     "The Bill seeks to specify the validity period of taxi and public light bus (PLB) driver identity plates to be 10 years. This is one of the facilitation measures put forth in the report of the Public Transport Strategy Study released by the Government in June 2017," a Government spokesman said.
     Under the existing Road Traffic Ordinance (Cap. 374) and relevant regulations, a taxi or PLB driver is required to display a valid taxi or PLB driver identity plate in the vehicle when it is used for the carriage of passengers for hire or reward, so as to facilitate easy identification of the driver and enhance professional image. A driver identity plate must bear the driver's photograph taken not earlier than 12 months before the day of display, which means that drivers have to renew their driver identity plates annually.
     "Having regard to the views of the taxi and PLB trades, we propose amending the legislation to cancel the 12-month photo requirement and specify the validity period of driver identity plates to be 10 years, so that the drivers need not renew their plates annually. This measure can slightly reduce the operating costs of the trade," the spokesman said.
     To tie in with the new arrangement, upon passage of the Bill, the Transport Department will specify by notice in the Gazette a new design for the taxi and PLB driver identity plates which will be applied to driver identity plates issued after the commencement of the Bill. Meanwhile, to avoid having a large number of drivers rush to apply for the new driver identity plates upon the commencement of the Bill, the Government proposes to provide a transitional arrangement. The driver identity plates issued before the commencement date of the Bill will remain valid for one year from the date of issue. 
     The Bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council on March 21.
Ends/Friday, February 9, 2018
Issued at HKT 12:15
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