The Hong Kong government has approved an increase in taxi fares for the first time in just over three years. New charges are expected to take effect from April 9.

The starting fare for taxis across Hong Kong will increase by HK$2, while incremental fares for every 200 metres will increase by one to two cents.

The flag fall rate for urban taxis will be HK$24; taxis in the New Territories will start at HK$20.50, and those in Lantau will begin at HK$19.

Charges for each piece of baggage will be increased from HK$5 to HK$6, while other charges will remain unchanged.

Taxi fares last increased in December 2013, and before that, in July 2011.

The new fares were approved by the chief executive and the Executive Council in response to an application by the taxi trade last April to increase fares.

Hong Kong taxis. Photo: Wikicommons.

“The Government is mindful that the fare increase will bring extra transport expenses to passengers,” said a spokesman from the Transport and Housing Bureau.

“Therefore… the Government has duly considered various factors and endeavoured to strike a balance among various concerns so that the adjusted fares are set at a level generally acceptable to stakeholders.”

Factors considered included changes in revenue and operating costs of taxi drivers, public acceptability, and the difference in fares between taxis and other forms of public transport, according to the spokesman.

Elson Tong

Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.