Extract of the minutes of Transport Panel meeting held on 17 December 1996

V.Taxi fare receipt

(Paper No. CB(1) 512/96-97(08) provided by the Administration)

12. At the Chairman's invitation, the Assistant Commissioner for Transport (Ferry & Paratransit) (AC for T(F&P)) briefed the Panel on the subject of taxi fare receipt. The device for issuing taxi fare receipts could either be an integral part of a taximeter or a printer added onto the existing taximeter. The capital cost of a printer was around $1,000 to $1,500, and a taximeter-cum-printer, $4,000 to $6,000. Taxi fare receipts could be printed within 12 seconds and this should not cause traffic delays. The Administration had discussed the proposal with suppliers of taximeter equipment and the taxi trade. Taxi operators, including drivers and taxi owners, generally welcomed the proposal. They also accepted contingency arrangements of hand-written fare receipts in case of printer failures.

13. A member enquired if these devices could record the total sum of daily income of taxi drivers as this might provide supporting data for taxi fare revision applications. AC for T(F&P) advised that although some of the devices could be upgraded to serve this purpose, the proposal would deviate from the original aim of issuing taxi fare receipts and further consultation would have to be made with taxi operators. On whether such records would be used by the Commissioner of Inland Revenue to assess the income tax of taxi drivers, S for T advised that this would be a separate issue.

14. As regard the durability of these devices, AC for T(F&P) said that these were simple machines for printing out data and would be very durable; some of the machines had been installed in Rehab buses for over one year. As to whether issuance of the receipts would solve the problems of over-charging and meter tampering, AC for T(F&P) acknowledged that this might not be the ultimate solution but it should at least serve a deterrent effect. Furthermore, the Police had confirmed that the receipts would be useful in assisting in the prosecution of drivers for over-charging. She agreed with members on the need for this message to be conveyed clearly to the public.

15. On the implementation schedule of the proposal, the Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport (Transport Services) advised that the amendment regulations would be introduced into LegCo in March 1997 for implementation in June 1997; all taxis would have to install such devices before mid-1998. As regards the possibility of advancing the programme, he explained that it would take time for the suppliers to provide an adequate supply of the devices. S for T agreed with members that the Panel would be briefed on the details of the amendment regulations again before the Administration formally put them to LegCo.

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