Taxi drivers in Hong Kong are increasingly feeling the effects of the inflation on their profession and demanding a rise in their fares.
Red urban taxis and green New Territories cabs are waiting for passengers at a taxi stand in the Sha Tin district.
The fare varies between the different types of taxis; green taxis charge HK$ 16.50 for the first two kilometers, red ones HK$ 20.
A cab driver is waiting in line at a taxi stand in the Wan Chai district on January 30, 2013.
Full-time taxi drivers work up to ten hours a day, starting around 7 a.m.
Ma Kai Chung has been a taxi driver in Hong Kong for about three to four years.
He uses his break to clean the car, which the drivers are usually required to do themselves.
Ma says that he makes about HK$ 600-800 on an average day.
He reckons that the money he makes right now is enough to earn him a living.
New Territories taxi drivers said they might join the fare increase request if it gets approved, according to an SCMP report.
Chow Chi Leung, who insisted on not being photographed, says that he currently spends most money for oil and the fee for renting his cab.
When a car needs to be fixed, that is paid for by the taxi company, Chow says.
Vincent Lau, who has been driving his taxi for ten years, says that the planned raise will not make that much of a difference, because the inflation is too strong.
However, he adds that “two dollars are better than nothing.”
At the moment, the drivers are still waiting for a decision to be made about the fare increase.
Until it is made, urban taxis will continue to serve most of Hong Kong at their current fare rate, which varies according to their passengers’s destination.
Text and photos by Solaire Hauser
HONG KONG – Easily distinguishable from normal cars in most cities, taxis come in different colors. In Hong Kong their signature colors are red, blue and green, depending on which area they are serving.
Drivers of the red cars, which are also known as urban taxis, have recently been on the news due to a discussion about an increase of the taxi fare.
At the moment, most drivers earn around HK$ 300-400 on an average day. Poon Shu Keung, who has been a cab driver for 20 years, thinks that the current price is acceptable. “Not too much, not too little,” he says.
On the contrary, cab driver Chow Chi Leung says that almost half of that money needs to be spent on oil and the renting fee for the car.
What urban taxi drivers are demanding now, in order to solve this problem, is a HK$ 2-increase in the taxi fare, according to a report in The South China Morning Post. They are also asking for an additional 10 cents for every 200 meters.
There have been a number of fare increases in recent years to deal with this situation. Whether this one will be approved or turned down remains to be seen.