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postgraduate thesis: Taxi fares: regulated or de-regulated

TitleTaxi fares: regulated or de-regulated
Authors
Issue Date2011
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Abstract
It is widely accepted that taxi fare regulation in Hong Kong has been adopted for a long time without posing serious problems. The government and most of the taxi operators and passengers are used to such a regulatory measure. Nevertheless, a series of economic downturn and fierce competition among various public transport modes and within the taxi trade have emerged in the recent decades. These have gradually changed this mindset. Some people start to question whether fare regulation is the best option. Even Transport Advisory Committee supports that Hong Kong should, in the long run, adopt a more flexible fare system which should allow taxi operators to set their own fare. Against this background, this dissertation is conducted with a view to answering a question: “to what extent should the taxi fare system in Hong Kong be regulated or de-regulated”. With a view to providing recommendations on the future taxi fare policy, this dissertation examines thoroughly the theoretical principles and foreign experiences in taxi fare regulation and de-regulation. Local market structure and public perception (including the government, taxi operators and passengers) of fare regulation / de-regulation are also explored to see if the theories and overseas experiences are applicable to Hong Kong. This is a pioneering study on the feasibility of fare de-regulation in Hong Kong. The study results should be significant and should point a direction to the future of how to tackle the above question. Overall, the dissertation shows that the concept of fare regulation is deep-rooted in the mind of the general public. The government and taxi operators are very resistant to fare semi-regulation (i.e. maximum and/or minimum fare) and de-regulation on the grounds of potential cut-throat competition and adverse social impacts, e.g. overcharging and consumer’s confusion. While taxi passengers are generally worried about the loss of legal protection and fairness of charging secured by the regulation. However, theoretical principles and foreign experiences do prove some fruitful results that can be achieved by fare semi-regulation / de-regulation. For instance, the availability of more price options and service improvements are beneficial to customer welfare while the possible rise of fare level is favourable to the business of operators. To strike a balance between different interests, this dissertation recommends that Hong Kong should adopt a taxi fare regulation in the form of a combination of maximum and minimum fare. That is, a price ceiling and floor are prescribed by the government and taxi operators are allowed to set their fare level within this range. The only requirement for the operators is to file the fare to the government for record purpose as and when the fares are changed. These fares should be widely publicized before implementation. To save the effort by customers to ascertain and compare the prices, it is suggested that all taxi operators are required to be affiliated to radio-dispatched centers (DCs). DCs will take up the role of fare setting and all subordinated taxis must follow suit. The government should closely monitor the level of maximum and minimum fares and make necessary adjustments in response to market conditions.
DegreeMaster of Arts in Transport Policy and Planning
SubjectTaxicabs - Fares - China - Hong Kong.
Dept/ProgramTransport Policy and Planning

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorWong, Ping-cheung.-
dc.contributor.author黃炳祥.-
dc.date.issued2011-
dc.description.abstractIt is widely accepted that taxi fare regulation in Hong Kong has been adopted for a long time without posing serious problems. The government and most of the taxi operators and passengers are used to such a regulatory measure. Nevertheless, a series of economic downturn and fierce competition among various public transport modes and within the taxi trade have emerged in the recent decades. These have gradually changed this mindset. Some people start to question whether fare regulation is the best option. Even Transport Advisory Committee supports that Hong Kong should, in the long run, adopt a more flexible fare system which should allow taxi operators to set their own fare. Against this background, this dissertation is conducted with a view to answering a question: “to what extent should the taxi fare system in Hong Kong be regulated or de-regulated”. With a view to providing recommendations on the future taxi fare policy, this dissertation examines thoroughly the theoretical principles and foreign experiences in taxi fare regulation and de-regulation. Local market structure and public perception (including the government, taxi operators and passengers) of fare regulation / de-regulation are also explored to see if the theories and overseas experiences are applicable to Hong Kong. This is a pioneering study on the feasibility of fare de-regulation in Hong Kong. The study results should be significant and should point a direction to the future of how to tackle the above question. Overall, the dissertation shows that the concept of fare regulation is deep-rooted in the mind of the general public. The government and taxi operators are very resistant to fare semi-regulation (i.e. maximum and/or minimum fare) and de-regulation on the grounds of potential cut-throat competition and adverse social impacts, e.g. overcharging and consumer’s confusion. While taxi passengers are generally worried about the loss of legal protection and fairness of charging secured by the regulation. However, theoretical principles and foreign experiences do prove some fruitful results that can be achieved by fare semi-regulation / de-regulation. For instance, the availability of more price options and service improvements are beneficial to customer welfare while the possible rise of fare level is favourable to the business of operators. To strike a balance between different interests, this dissertation recommends that Hong Kong should adopt a taxi fare regulation in the form of a combination of maximum and minimum fare. That is, a price ceiling and floor are prescribed by the government and taxi operators are allowed to set their fare level within this range. The only requirement for the operators is to file the fare to the government for record purpose as and when the fares are changed. These fares should be widely publicized before implementation. To save the effort by customers to ascertain and compare the prices, it is suggested that all taxi operators are required to be affiliated to radio-dispatched centers (DCs). DCs will take up the role of fare setting and all subordinated taxis must follow suit. The government should closely monitor the level of maximum and minimum fares and make necessary adjustments in response to market conditions.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B48194062-
dc.subject.lcshTaxicabs - Fares - China - Hong Kong.-
dc.titleTaxi fares: regulated or de-regulated-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb4819406-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Arts in Transport Policy and Planning-
dc.description.thesislevelmaster's-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineTransport Policy and Planning-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.date.hkucongregation2011-

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