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Government's proposal for franchised taxis
市民渴求優質的士 業界勿圖一己之私
Publishing Date: 2017/4/21

雙語社評齊齊聽

英語 (足本收聽)

普通話 (足本收聽)

【明報專訊】TO KICK START the premium taxi scheme, the government has suggested issuing three new franchises, each with a period of 5 years, in order to supply 600 "franchised taxis" to Hong Kong's transportation system. This has provoked a backlash from the taxi industry. To contest the plan, some of its representatives are threatening to stage a "go-slow" protest of a 500-strong fleet of taxis, claiming that a larger-scale blockage of roads will follow if the government refuses to shelve the plan. They have even called on taxi drivers across the city to walk out for several hours.

audio 1

政府建議批出3個5年期專營牌照,提供600輛「專營的士」,推動優質的士服務,引起的士業界不滿,有代表聲言下周發起500輛的士慢駛遊行「抗爭」,若政府拒絕擱置計劃,不排除發起更大規模行動堵塞公路,甚至呼籲全港的士司機局部罷工數小時,云云。

audio 1

Hong Kong's taxi industry has suffered a downturn in recent years, and people in taxi associations have often criticised the government for not offering assistance. We believe that one should attempt self-help before others can extend a helping hand. The problem faced with the taxi industry is largely the result of a long-standing lack of enterprise on the part of the industry itself. The industry cannot expect the government to help if it does not conduct a self-review and make the effort. Statistics show that complaints against taxis rose from 7,997 cases in 2010 to 10,060 cases in 2014, and they made up around 50 per cent of all complaints against public transportation services. In fact, many citizens have had it with taxi drivers — some of them refuse to do either long rides or short rides, while others are so unkind to passengers. The popularity of Uber, short-lived as it was, shows that citizens are very dissatisfied with the services provided by taxis.

audio 2

本港的士業近年委靡不振,的士商會常批評政府沒有施援。人必自助而後人助,當前的士業陷入困境,很大程度上是業界長期不思進取種下的惡果,業界不可能徒盼政府打救,卻不自我檢討,發憤圖強。資料顯示,有關的士的投訴,由2010年的7997宗,升至2014年的10,060宗,佔公共交通服務投訴個案約五成。有司機拒絕接載長程乘客,太短程也不肯接,對乘客冷言冷語,令不少市民吃了一肚子氣。Uber出現後一度大受追捧,已說明市民對的士服務的不滿有多大。

audio 2

Currently there are altogether 18,138 taxi licences. On the surface of it, these licences are widely distributed among almost 10,000 individuals and companies. However, since most taxis are managed by taxi companies, the whole industry is in fact dominated by several big players. And since taxi licences do not have an expiry date, many owners simply treat their licence as an item for market speculation, and do not have the commitment to develop their business.

audio 3

目前全港的士牌照總數為18,138,雖然表面上分散由近萬個人或公司擁有,然而大多數的士均交由車行打理,整個行業主要由幾間大型的士公司把持。由於的士牌照是永久的,不少持牌人往往只視的士牌為一種可以炒賣的資產,無心搞好的士業務。

audio 3

Some taxi associations are aware of the problem and have launched "premium taxi" schemes to improve their services. However, to solve the problem once and for all, it takes more than the good intentions of a handful of people in the industry. It is necessary to reform the system. The government's plan to launch a premium "franchised taxi" scheme, which is aimed at not only tackling the problem of "pak pais" created by Uber but also improving the taxi service and encouraging competition, is a step in the right direction. The introduction of franchised taxis, if looked at from taxi drivers' point of view, will only create more job opportunities instead of causing any problems. The addition of 600 franchised taxis is not likely to threaten the survival of the 18,000 taxis currently on the streets either. Furthermore, given the higher fares of franchised taxis and the fact that they and ordinary taxis are in different markets, it is impossible for premium taxis to take the place of ordinary ones. If the taxi industry is willing to work ceaselessly to improve its services, it should not be afraid of the competition, since ordinary taxis still have a price advantage.

audio 4

目前的確已有的士車行意識到危機感,開始推出優質的士改善服務,可是要釜底抽薪,不能單靠個別業界人士的良好意願,應當從制度改革入手。政府推出優質「專營的士」計劃,一邊針對Uber出現所衍生的白牌車問題,一邊希望提升的士服務水平,鼓勵競爭,是值得支持的做法。對的士司機而言,引入專營的士,可為他們提供更多工作選擇,不會帶來損失;市場上多了600輛專營的士,也不大可能對1.8萬輛現有的士帶來生存威脅,何G專營的士收費較一般的士高,兩者市場不同,優質的士不可能取代普通的士。倘若的士業界願意自強不息改善服務,憑蚖顳磍u勢,並沒有理由懼怕競爭。

audio 4

Some observers have pointed out the imperfections of the government's scheme, which include the mandatory requirement that the taxis must be replaced after five years. They have also questioned whether the requirement that a franchisee must operate 200 taxis is too high a threshold. Concerns like these can be discussed. However, discussion about technical details should not interfere with the overall direction. Services provided by taxis should be premium services themselves. The taxi industry should contemplate whether it will have society on its side before it stages a strike to "fight against" the government scheme. If the industry insists on holding the government on ransom by threatening to block the roads even if society does not approve of the action, it will be hijacking the public interest for selfish purposes.

audio 5

有論者認為,專營的士計劃內容未盡完善,例如硬性規定每輛的士行駛5年便需更換、營運200輛的士的要求會否門檻太高等,凡此種種皆可細議,惟技術層面的討論,不應影響整體方向。的士服務本身便應該是優質的。的士業界發起罷駛「抗爭」前必須三思,到底能否獲得廣大市民同情;設若明知市民並不認同,卻仍然以堵塞交通作為要脅,就是以一己之私,騎劫公眾利益。

audio 5

明報社評2017.03.15

Presented by lecturers of Hong Kong Community College, PolyU and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Ms LUI, Emily Nga-kwan
Lecturer
www.hkcc-polyu.edu.hk/staff_directory/language_communication/LUI,_Emily_Nga-kwan-130.html

周文駿
講師
www.hkcc-polyu.edu.hk/staff_directory/language_communication/CHOW,_Raymond_Wen-chun-92.html

【Bilingual Editorial】

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