The Government said today that it hopes a penalty points system for taxi drivers could help stamp out some of the bad behavior that commonly winds up passengers in Hong Kong, including overcharging, refusing hires or taking a longer route than necessary.
Not only would major offenses be covered, but relatively minor wrongdoings as well, such as drivers smoking in their vehicles or not having change for passengers.
Similar to the penalty system for motorists in general, taxi drivers could be given 10 points for serious malpractice, or 3 to 5 for a minor offense. Notch up 15 in any two-year period and their licences would be suspended, for at least three months, RTHK.
A member of the committee, Civic Party lawmaker Jeremy Tam, said it is a good idea, but officials should be cautious when working out the exact details.
"For example, one of the charges could be if the taxi driver does not have enough change, you know like HK$1, or HK$2, or HK$5 coins, they suggest to deduct 5 points. So that's actually quite a heavy penalty because if you reach 15 points, then your licence will be suspended."
Roundtable lawmaker Michael Tien said he supports the proposed system, but believes surveillance cameras must also be installed in taxis.
Tien said cameras have been proven overseas to change the behaviour of both drivers and passengers and footage would provide evidence of offences.
The Government is expected to ask Legco what it thinks of the proposal sometime next year.-RTHK