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Annoying / Dishonest Hong Kong Taxi Drivers

Annoying / Dishonest Hong Kong Taxi Drivers

Old Apr 5, 19, 1:38 pm
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
I highly doubt that a London cab driver would refuse a fare based on destination. This happens to me frequently in Hong Kong, whether it be a hail on the street, or even trying to get one from a reputable hotel.
You do understand that the protocol in HK, is that you get into the cab, shut the door and then tell the driver where you want to go? If they tell you to get out again then you simply key 999 on your phone and ask them if they want you to press "Call". But again, I haven't had this happen to me for at least a decade.
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Old Apr 5, 19, 4:50 pm
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Originally Posted by christep View Post
You do understand that the protocol in HK, is that you get into the cab, shut the door and then tell the driver where you want to go? If they tell you to get out again then you simply key 999 on your phone and ask them if they want you to press "Call". But again, I haven't had this happen to me for at least a decade.
I don't think you understand the protocol of the dishonest taxi drivers in HK: they don't open the door until you tell them where you're going. If they don't like the answer, they just drive off. You can't make them open the door. Also, the ones that do this often have their "for hire" dashboard sign lit up, but have the "Out of service" tent put over it, so it's difficult to prosecute the offence even if the police do become involved. I just thought of a solution to this: give them an answer that they will like and open the door for you, and then once inside tell them the real destination and do the threat as you state above if they balk. I wouldn't feel too guilty about it, because the only situation where you'd give a false destination would be to a dishonest driver that asked for it before they opened the door.

I know you live there, but by your own admission, this means that you're not doing the typical touristy things, so you may not be aware of the extent that this is going on. The taxi drivers know that the tourists don't know what the law is, are unlikely to get the police involved, and even if that happens, are unlikely to show up at a hearing, so their risk of conviction is low. And, even though everyone knows it's a widespread problem, the regulatory mechanism is almost built to make it easy to appear that there are tough regulations but difficult to actually ensure compliance - which is just the way that several sets of vested interests like it.

Originally Posted by AtomicLush View Post
Is this really that limited to HK? I had a taxi driver refuse a fare in Las Vegas (on the strip) because it was just a mile away. He said "you can walk" and told us to get out of the car.
No, but in Las Vegas, Uber is legal. We're talking about Hong Kong here because, well, this is the Hong Kong forum, and more specifically because unlike Las Vegas, Hong Kong has taken a hard line against Uber rather than working with them as has been done in countless other jurisdictions, while at the same time not seeing to it that the taxicab drivers follow the regulations.
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Old Apr 5, 19, 7:55 pm
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
Not a fair comparison: Cantonese is not an official language in the UK. Also, I highly doubt that a London cab driver would refuse a fare based on destination. This happens to me frequently in Hong Kong, whether it be a hail on the street, or even trying to get one from a reputable hotel.
Cantonese IS an official language along with English.
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Old Apr 5, 19, 7:57 pm
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Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
I don't think you understand the protocol of the dishonest taxi drivers in HK: they don't open the door until you tell them where you're going. If they don't like the answer, they just drive off. You can't make them open the door. Also, the ones that do this often have their "for hire" dashboard sign lit up, but have the "Out of service" tent put over it, so it's difficult to prosecute the offence even if the police do become involved. I just thought of a solution to this: give them an answer that they will like and open the door for you, and then once inside tell them the real destination and do the threat as you state above if they balk. I wouldn't feel too guilty about it, because the only situation where you'd give a false destination would be to a dishonest driver that asked for it before they opened the door.
And in Central/Sheung Wan on a friday/saturday evening it would work for locals too, so is in TST.

As a result, as long as cabbie do illegal stuff, I would take Uber, which i know of the fare and number plate before boarding instead of a taxi with someone else's taxi license.
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Old Apr 5, 19, 9:35 pm
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Originally Posted by kaka View Post
Cantonese IS an official language along with English.
Yes, of course. That was my point. I think you misinterpreted my comment. Since you may not be the only one, allow me to clarify. christep asked what the reaction would be of someone trying to speak entirely in Cantonese with a UK taxi driver? The way I interpret that was an attempt to discount the frustrations of people that come to Hong Kong and have difficulty in speaking to a taxicab driver in English. That's an apples-to-oranges comparison, as English is an official language in Hong Kong, whereas Cantonese is not in the UK.
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Old Apr 6, 19, 1:08 am
  #51  
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Originally Posted by Sunshinekk View Post
I just read an article today about: Complaints against Hong Kong’s taxi drivers hit record 11,000 in 2018 with bad driving, longer routes and overcharging among gripes.
Number of complaints has more than doubled over past 15 years. From my personal experience, HK taxi drivers are becoming more and more arrogant and annoying, the ride is never that pleasant.
I won't read too much about this.

The complaint culture has been escalated dramatically. Also it is a 2-way street between drivers and passengers. While many blame the drivers, the passengers are not always right as well. Because the complaint statistics does not exclude complaints which are frivolous or without merits, I would say the statistics is merely a reflection of the rise of passenger rights.

Originally Posted by kaka View Post
Cantonese IS an official language along with English.
Not true. The Basic Law actually only mentions Chinese as one of the official language. It does not explicitly mention Cantonese actually.
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Old Apr 6, 19, 1:26 am
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
I don't think you understand the protocol of the dishonest taxi drivers in HK: they don't open the door until you tell them where you're going. If they don't like the answer, they just drive off. You can't make them open the door. Also, the ones that do this often have their "for hire" dashboard sign lit up, but have the "Out of service" tent put over it, so it's difficult to prosecute the offence even if the police do become involved. I just thought of a solution to this: give them an answer that they will like and open the door for you, and then once inside tell them the real destination and do the threat as you state above if they balk. I wouldn't feel too guilty about it, because the only situation where you'd give a false destination would be to a dishonest driver that asked for it before they opened the door.

I know you live there, but by your own admission, this means that you're not doing the typical touristy things, so you may not be aware of the extent that this is going on. The taxi drivers know that the tourists don't know what the law is, are unlikely to get the police involved, and even if that happens, are unlikely to show up at a hearing, so their risk of conviction is low. And, even though everyone knows it's a widespread problem, the regulatory mechanism is almost built to make it easy to appear that there are tough regulations but difficult to actually ensure compliance - which is just the way that several sets of vested interests like it.
I do understand this because I am often walking home along Wyndham St late in the evening. As far as I can tell the problem is limited to late at night in a rather specific area within about 300m of Lan Kwai Fong (perhaps similar in a small area of TST). There is also a known problem with drivers picking up at the lower Peak Tram terminus. But in both cases, all you have to do is walk for a few minutes and you will find taxis operating as normal. For LKF there is an unofficial taxi rank outside the Fringe Club where people line up to take taxis playing by the rules, and there are generally enough coming by that you don't have to wait long (I was waiting maybe 2 minutes on a Saturday night at 2am recently, for example).

And there has been enforcement action - several taxi drivers have been caught in police plain clothes operations and been up in court.
https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/...ing-undercover
https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/...-under-polices (from 2014)
And legislators are pushing for more action: https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/...sport-minister
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Old Apr 6, 19, 1:41 am
  #53  
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Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
Yes, of course. That was my point. I think you misinterpreted my comment. Since you may not be the only one, allow me to clarify. christep asked what the reaction would be of someone trying to speak entirely in Cantonese with a UK taxi driver? The way I interpret that was an attempt to discount the frustrations of people that come to Hong Kong and have difficulty in speaking to a taxicab driver in English. That's an apples-to-oranges comparison, as English is an official language in Hong Kong, whereas Cantonese is not in the UK.
Just because English is an official language doesn't mean that people (especially people of limited education, which is the case for many taxi drivers) will speak it. Perhaps a better analogy... how well do you think you would get on with cabs in Cardiff speaking only Welsh? Or in Vancouver speaking French?
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Old Apr 6, 19, 4:35 pm
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christep: As you say, LKF and Wan Chai are likely places for bad taxi behavior. I've also run into it at places like the JW Marriott, where several taxis, one after the other, drove off once the bellman told them my destination. I asked him if that wasn't improper, and he just shrugged. That's an interesting case, because I know that in some other cities, a taxi driver doing that at a nice hotel would be noted by the bellman and potentially find themselves unwelcome to come back. Also, I had it happen at the Peak Galleria, although that was on a night when tear gas was being deployed elsewhere in the city, so perhaps that was a special case.

Regarding the links you provide, I'm glad to see that they're trying to do something. $300 from Central to Wan Chai? They should charge that guy with "outraging public decency" as well as the taxi fare offence. But two of your links kind of reconfirm what I've been talking about: a line of 10 taxis, all unscrupulous, at the lower Peak Tram terminus, operating right in front of police that do nothing, other than refer to occasional undercover operations. That's just what I'm talking about: a regulatory scheme that provides a veneer of accountability, while at the same time allowing the bad behavior to continue virtually unchecked. The drivers obviously aren't too concerned about the police if they flagrantly do it right in front of them. And, the soaring numbers of complaints to police would seem to indicate that the problem is getting worse, not better.
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Old Apr 7, 19, 12:45 pm
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Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
christep: As you say, LKF and Wan Chai are likely places for bad taxi behavior. I've also run into it at places like the JW Marriott, where several taxis, one after the other, drove off once the bellman told them my destination. I asked him if that wasn't improper, and he just shrugged. That's an interesting case, because I know that in some other cities, a taxi driver doing that at a nice hotel would be noted by the bellman and potentially find themselves unwelcome to come back. Also, I had it happen at the Peak Galleria, although that was on a night when tear gas was being deployed elsewhere in the city, so perhaps that was a special case.<br /><br />Regarding the links you provide, I'm glad to see that they're trying to do something. $300 from Central to Wan Chai? They should charge that guy with "outraging public decency" as well as the taxi fare offence. But two of your links kind of reconfirm what I've been talking about: a line of 10 taxis, all unscrupulous, at the lower Peak Tram terminus, operating right in front of police that do nothing, other than refer to occasional undercover operations. That's just what I'm talking about: a regulatory scheme that provides a veneer of accountability, while at the same time allowing the bad behavior to continue virtually unchecked. The drivers obviously aren't too concerned about the police if they flagrantly do it right in front of them. And, the soaring numbers of complaints to police would seem to indicate that the problem is getting worse, not better.
<br /><br />Even in Sheung Wan you can those horrible cabbies. they are just everywhere these days. Peak Galleria is a common spot for those illegal cabbies, along with the lower Peak Tram Terminus and Canton Road. Basically everywhere with tourists. The 3 spots I mentioned "regularly" has police catching dishonest drivers but clearly that isnt enough.<br />You should have made the bellman report to the police, since (I would assume) them to have some sort of CCTV facing the drop off area.<br /><br />As to the comment on Cantonese, i think i misread UK v HK.
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Old Apr 7, 19, 12:48 pm
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Originally Posted by christep View Post
I do understand this because I am often walking home along Wyndham St late in the evening. As far as I can tell the problem is limited to late at night in a rather specific area within about 300m of Lan Kwai Fong (perhaps similar in a small area of TST). There is also a known problem with drivers picking up at the lower Peak Tram terminus. But in both cases, all you have to do is walk for a few minutes and you will find taxis operating as normal. For LKF there is an unofficial taxi rank outside the Fringe Club where people line up to take taxis playing by the rules, and there are generally enough coming by that you don't have to wait long (I was waiting maybe 2 minutes on a Saturday night at 2am recently, for example).

And there has been enforcement action - several taxi drivers have been caught in police plain clothes operations and been up in court.
https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/...ing-undercover
https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/...-under-polices (from 2014)
And legislators are pushing for more action: https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/...sport-minister
and they still had the balls to ask for my destination with locked doors. clearly shows the police are still too lenient on them despite the so-called action.

So yes, mine didn't just turn into a complaint. It's now a prosecution.
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Old Apr 7, 19, 12:52 pm
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
I won't read too much about this.

The complaint culture has been escalated dramatically. Also it is a 2-way street between drivers and passengers. While many blame the drivers, the passengers are not always right as well. Because the complaint statistics does not exclude complaints which are frivolous or without merits, I would say the statistics is merely a reflection of the rise of passenger rights.



Not true. The Basic Law actually only mentions Chinese as one of the official language. It does not explicitly mention Cantonese actually.
Oh, and another thing taxi drivers tend to overcharge are undersized bags in cabin. IIRC it's as big as cabin bags in HKG - I've told them to measure bags and I would pay accordingly.
And the so-called complaints will just get brushed aside anyways - people should take it to the police. you might need some ways to show you have the right taxi however, and a few hours for the statement.
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Old Apr 7, 19, 2:02 pm
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Originally Posted by kaka View Post
And the so-called complaints will just get brushed aside anyways - people should take it to the police. you might need some ways to show you have the right taxi however, and a few hours for the statement.
Well, that's the thing, isn't it? How many people, especially tourists, are going to go to that trouble? Virtually none. Which is exactly what the drivers know and why it continues.

Under the road traffic regulations, it is an offence to overcharge taxi fare, refuse to hire or not to use the most direct practicable route. Upon conviction, offenders are liable to a maximum punishment of six-month imprisonment and a fine of HK$10,000.

“A one-thousand-dollar fine means nothing to drivers,” said transport-sector lawmaker Frankie Yick-Chi-ming. “Some of them earn tens of thousands per month.”
I'm inferring from that statement that a $1000 fine is a typical sentence handed down, and that, along with the low chances of prosecution, apparently doesn't provide much of a deterrent. Now, I don't think the solution is to fill up the jails with cabbies. But, how about this? First offence for the egregious taxi violations (failure to use the meter, or refusing a fare): $1000 fine and a 30-day suspension of the taxicab driver's license. Some types of violations, like speeding or unsafe driving, and perhaps charging for luggage that's close to the minimum size for such charge, can be subjective and are a matter of degree. But failure to use the meter or refusing a fare are fundamental to being a cab driver and are Yes/No violations, and impossible to commit without specific intent, such as due to lax attention. Drivers willing to commit them shouldn't be driving a taxi.
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Old Apr 9, 19, 2:02 am
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Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
Well, that's the thing, isn't it? How many people, especially tourists, are going to go to that trouble? Virtually none. Which is exactly what the drivers know and why it continues.



I'm inferring from that statement that a $1000 fine is a typical sentence handed down, and that, along with the low chances of prosecution, apparently doesn't provide much of a deterrent. Now, I don't think the solution is to fill up the jails with cabbies. But, how about this? First offence for the egregious taxi violations (failure to use the meter, or refusing a fare): $1000 fine and a 30-day suspension of the taxicab driver's license. Some types of violations, like speeding or unsafe driving, and perhaps charging for luggage that's close to the minimum size for such charge, can be subjective and are a matter of degree. But failure to use the meter or refusing a fare are fundamental to being a cab driver and are Yes/No violations, and impossible to commit without specific intent, such as due to lax attention. Drivers willing to commit them shouldn't be driving a taxi.
$10k for repeat offenders would suffice.
but no, the police wont even bother with fight AGAINST triads (in TST) or chinese women “working” in the Mong Kok area (or where not).

guess what those SS do
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Old Apr 15, 19, 12:03 pm
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Just checked, Uber still lists HK.

Does Grab operate in HK?

My only experience with those red cabs was that it stinker inside and I think I paid about 80 HKD to get from Hong Kong station to Wanchai.

Last time I went to HK, in 2017, I used Uber a couple of times. Both really nice cars, including a Mercedes sedan. In fact I did the latter for a short ride, from TST to the Air Express station and the fare was only about $3-4 USD. The driver was disappointed at the short fare but that's what I clearly indicated in the app. She wanted to know if I wanted to go to the airport but I had a return ticket on the train.

I think I was in Soho when I checked the app. to go up to Victoria Peak. It showed about $65 HKD but it ended up about twice that. Still not too bad.
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