Cabbies ‘gone fishing’

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Complaints are abundant about Macau’s public transport system, particularly that of taxis ‘fishing’ for specific passengers and leaving the regular customer out on the sidewalk. Older cabbies are said to be ‘better’ than younger ones who seem to only want to drive tourists to and from hotels and casinos, according to several complaints. Currently, there are 1,080 taxis in service ferrying around a population of 631,000 plus about 30 million tourists a year. On November 6, the specially licensed cabs known as Companhia de Rádio Táxi Vang Iek – also known as yellow taxis – ceased operations. The Transport Bureau said that the Vang Iek group ‘could not obtain enough human resources to progressively have all of its 100 taxis provide a call-only service’ and that between February and October the taxi company only achieved a success rate of around 40 per cent in terms of calls answered and transport service provided to callers, which dropped during rush hour to 20 per cent. The government failed to reach an agreement with the company after Vang Iek requested adding a surcharge for call-in customers, which was to be negotiated with the licence renewal. Following the termination of the Vang Iek group licence, the government recently announced an increase in flag-fall from MOP15 to MOP17, a move which has been heavily criticised. Macau Taxi Passengers Association (MTPA) president Andrew Scott says it didn’t make sense to terminate the licence of Vang Iek. The Macau Taxi Passengers Association (MTPA) was created following the success of a Facebook page called Macau Taxi Driver Shame. With expatriates and locals, Chinese and non-Chinese speaking members among the group, Mr. Scott says he realised there was a unifying topic: taxis in Macau. “Everybody in Macau has a taxi horror story; it was a huge success straight away”. The full story can be read in this month’s issue of Macau Business magazine, available at newsstands or online at www.magzter.com.