Written by: Chen Jingqi
2020-06-02 08:00Last update date: 2020-06-02 08:00
Uber, who has been in Hong Kong for more than 6 years, has been regarded as an illegal passenger remuneration service by the Hong Kong government. The company announced its intention to relocate its Asia Pacific headquarters to Hong Kong, but the key is that the government can legislate on car sharing services.
Zhong Zhiting, general manager of Uber Hong Kong, accepted an interview with "Hong Kong 01" and said that he hoped to start a dialogue with the authorities. He also gave examples of different proposals for legislation on ride-sharing services in various regions. Among them, Sydney in Australia was taken as an example. The AUD "Passenger Service Tax" to pay government subsidies to the taxi industry is worthy of reference by the Hong Kong Government.
The Housing and Transportation Bureau replied that it noted that Uber intends to establish a regional headquarters in Hong Kong, but emphasized that the vehicle does not have a valid rental car permit. No one may drive or use the vehicle provided by any means, including the mobile application car rental platform. It is illegal to rent or pay passenger service. The Bureau also pointed out that the Government has submitted the "Special Taxi Services Bill" to the Legislative Council for deliberation and will continue to listen to the public.
Zhong Zhiting, general manager of Uber Hong Kong, said he hopes to initiate a dialogue with the government on the regulation of car sharing services. (Photo by Liang Pengwei)
Uber announced earlier that in response to the relocation of its Asia-Pacific headquarters from Singapore within one year, it now plans to move to Hong Kong and establish a research and engineering center, which is expected to create a large number of local employment opportunities. However, Uber launched its ride-sharing service in Hong Kong in 2014 and it has not yet been legalized. Zhong Zhiting, general manager of Uber Hong Kong, revealed that he has contacted relevant stakeholders and government authorities, saying that the dialogue will be open and willing to consider all options.
At present, Uber ridesharing services are spread all over the world, and governments in many regions have also combined their services. Zhong Zhiting cited the Australian situation as an example, saying that Tasmania initially introduced an exemption system that allowed the carpooling industry to trial in the state for two years. Afterwards, it was satisfied with the service system and eventually allowed Uber to continue operations; Sydney implemented an AUD 1 per trip The "Passenger Service Tax" is used to pay government assistance to the taxi industry to offset the price changes that may be brought about by the introduction of car-sharing services.
Zhong Zhiting took the case of Sydney, Australia as an example, and the example of the taxi industry where Uber levied an AUD 1 "passenger service tax" per trip to pay government subsidies is also worthy of reference. (Profile picture)
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Zhong Zhiting said that the above plans are worth considering, and that the plan of Sydney in Australia is also similar to the situation in Hong Kong. He hopes to start a "sincere dialogue" with the authorities on the regulation of ride-sharing services. At the same time, it also pointed out that nearly 250,000 driver partners have registered to use the Uber App in the past six years. The Uber Flash service launched last year has also registered a 40% increase in taxi driver registration rates in March from February.
Wu Kuncheng, deputy chairman of the Hong Kong Taxi Council, said that each country has its own passenger transport services, and does not agree that local laws need to accommodate individual services. He continued that if Uber intends to develop in Hong Kong, it should cooperate with other legal companies to provide ride-hailing services to the people of Hong Kong, rather than just use the platform and do not need to pay insurance to earn profit at no cost. Fairness?" He continued by saying that the vacancy rates of various types of passenger services including taxis, minibuses and buses continue to rise and business volume is greatly affected. Therefore, he does not support the legalization of legal services.
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The Transportation Bureau replied that it noted that Uber intends to establish a regional headquarters in Hong Kong and provide various services locally, including but not limited to passenger transportation services.
The Bureau reiterates that in terms of passenger transport services, if any person or organization wants to arrange for private car rental or remuneration for passenger use, the relevant vehicle must obtain a valid rental car permit in accordance with the provisions of the Road Traffic Ordinance (Cap. 374) certificate. If the vehicle does not have a valid rental car license, no one is allowed to drive or use the vehicle to provide rental or paid passenger service in any way, including the mobile application car rental platform, otherwise it is illegal.
At the same time, it also pointed out that in response to the new demand for personalized point-to-point public transport services with higher service quality in the society, the Government has submitted the Specialized Taxi Services Bill to the Legislative Council for deliberation. The Government will continue to listen to the public.
Uber Transport and Housing Bureau Taxi