The taxi industry will roll out a new taxi-hailing app on Thursday with 800 endorsed drivers. The app has linked exclusively with drivers who have signed an agreement to provide a quality service, in hope of overhauling the profession’s image.

The taxi app, available on Apple iOS and Android systems without charge, will be in full service from May 19. The newly-established Taxi Council said on Monday that they are accepting registrations by more drivers and hope to have around 1,500 endorsed drivers on the system within a month from launch, RTHK reported.

taxi app
Cheng Mun-yi, developer of the app, speaking at a press conference. Photo: RTHK Screenshot.

Drivers on the app, who are within a 2-km distance of a potential passenger, will be able to receive an “order”, although around 9,000 drivers across town will also be able to access the orders through eight call-stations without installing the app.

Rate your driver

Passengers will be able to rate drivers based on four major areas – their service, the cleanliness of the vehicle, safety and punctuality. Each item can be rated on a scale of five. Drivers who have an average score lower than three may receive retraining or even be kicked off the system, HK01 reported.

Should a passenger make a complaint through the system, a member of the council will follow up with a call within 48 hours. If the allegations are serious, it will be investigated by an independent committee.

Hung Wing-tat, chairman of the council, said that the app was developed by an individual within the industry, and he believed that the rating system would improve the profession’s service quality.

Hong Kong taxis
Hong Kong taxis. File Photo: Wikicommons.

Cabbies who overcharge passengers remain a common problem in Hong Kong.

Some drivers, however, have voiced concerns about the introduction of mobile apps in the city, with three unions staging a protest against the Uber app last July. The government then cracked down on the app, making arrests last August.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.