Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Saturday, Feb 04, 2023

Designated Covid taxi caught picking up passengers off the street

Designated Covid taxi caught picking up passengers off the street

A taxi that should only send inbound travelers to designated quarantine hotels was caught taking street passengers onboard, raising concerns that the breach may lead to the collapse of authorities’ closed-loop Covid management.
The issue came under the spotlight as broadcaster Cable News reported about 10 percent of the Covid taxis offered only one to two rides a day at most, after spending hours observing the fleet at the airport on a Sunday, with about 60 flights arriving that day.

Over 70 taxis offered four or more rides that day, and 13 even traveled six to seven times within their 12-hour shift. However, over 20 taxis traveled up to three times only, including eight offering one to two rides a day.

Each of these taxis – offering rides 7am to 2am – can be compensated HK$1,500 a day by the government regardless of the number of rides they offer, and they can still charge passengers according to the taxi meter on the way to the quarantine hotels.

Cable News also followed a taxi that day, which left the airport and arrived at a quarantine hotel in Sha Tin about half an hour later. The driver then headed to a gas station and pulled over for about two minutes before traveling to Chung On Shopping Centre in Ma On Shan and picking up two street passengers – by then the designated Covid taxi label on the window had been removed.

The label reappeared on the taxi’s window about two hours after the taxi dropped the two passengers in a Tsuen Wan housing estate and returned to the airport.

When approached by Cable News, the driver denied having picked up street passengers, adding they had the wrong driver. Yet, the driver admitted he also worried about the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

The taxi fleet that employed the driver later confirmed that the driver was fired and added they have been asking drivers to report their whereabouts starting this week.

Chow Kwok-keung, the chairperson of the Hong Kong Taxi and Public Light Bus Association Ltd, said, “Driving the taxis for other businesses during work could never be tolerated.”

“It is your social responsibility to provide agreed services after getting paid. We are not going to work with people who break the rules for their own interests,” Chow added.

Chow’s company and three other taxi companies have together launched a new platform worth over HK$100,000 to monitor the whereabouts of the Covid taxi starting this week, as Chow called on drivers to discipline themselves.

The Transport and Logistics Bureau said the driver has been banned from driving the Covid taxi, and authorities will enlarge the label of the Covid taxi for better identification. Yet, the bureau noted that it seems inappropriate to regulate the number of rides because it may be affected by other factors like traffics and drivers’ physical condition.

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
Hong Kong airlines taking bold action after the years of pandemic lockdown and travel restrictions, to make Hong Kong great again
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
Chinese search giant Baidu to launch ChatGPT like AI chatbot.
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
China is opening up for foreign investors.
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
China relaxes 'red lines' on property sector borrowing in policy pivot
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
Japan prosecutors indict man for ex-PM Shinzo Abe murder
Vietnam removes two deputy PMs amid anti-corruption campaign
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
China’s recovery could add 1% to Australia’s GDP: JPMorgan 
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
China vows to strengthen financial support for enterprises: official
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
2 Billion People To Travel In China's "Great Migration" Over Next 40 Days
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
Flight constraints expected to weigh on China travel rebound
Billionaire Jack Ma relinquishes control of Ant Group
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
Teslas now over 40% cheaper in China than US
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
China seeks course correction in US ties but will fight ‘all forms of hegemony’, top diplomat Wang Yi says
China will boost spending in 2023
African traders welcome end of China’s Covid travel curbs
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
Preparations begin for Spring Festival travel rush