Several hundred taxis parked on the roads surrounding the Hong Kong government headquarters and the Legislative Council on Friday morning, to protest against a government plan to introduce new franchised taxis.
The protest comes as LegCo’s Transport Panel was set to discuss the proposal, which would bring in 600 new taxis under three new franchises. They will be able to charge premium fares compared with their traditional counterparts, but must provide online booking.
RTHK reported that the LegCo Transport Panel did not have enough time to discuss the franchise plan on Friday.
The franchises would not be required to maintain an employer-employee relationship with taxi drivers.
Photographs from Friday morning show the demonstrating taxis arrived from as far as the New Territories. Most parked on the streets near Central Pier.
The taxis did not block all of the driving lanes, and traffic did not appear to be affected.
— Fion Li (@fion_li) March 17, 2017
Protest organiser Ng Kwan-sing asked the government to listen to and cooperate with the taxi trade. “We want to tell them that we can provide quality service,” he said.
He demanded that the government rescind its franchise taxi plan: “This proposal is a misdiagnosis and a mis-prescription of medicine.”
Taxi unions had previously threatened a three-hour strike across Hong Kong, though the plan did not materialise on Friday.