LegCo Panel on Transport

Taxi Fare Receipts


The 1994 TAC Taxi Policy Review recommends that taxi drivers should be required to issue fare receipts on demand. The object is to improve customer service and discourage overcharging.

2. Transport Department has been in discussion with suppliers of taximeter equipment and the taxi trade on implementation. The main issues addressed are the speed of printing, cost, and product availability.


Product availability

3. At least five local and overseas suppliers have indicated that they are ready to supply the local market with receipt-printing devices. The printer can be an integral part of a taximeter or can be added onto some existing taximeters used by local taxis.

4. From information given by suppliers, the capital cost of a printer is in the order of $1,000 to $1,500, and that of a taximeter-cum-printer $4,000 to $6,000, depending on the capability of the equipment. The cost of consumables, including paper and ribbon, is estimated to be about $1 per day.

Proposed Requirements

5. We intend to lay down two basic requirements -

(a) the receipt must contain the following information -

    registration number of the taxi
    date and time when the journey starts
    date and time when the journey ends
    total distance travelled
    distance over which a distance rate is charged
    waiting time over which a time rate is charged
    surcharges, if any
    total taxi fare; and

(b) the receipt must be printed within 12 seconds so as not to cause traffic delays. This duration is considered appropriate because it is roughly the time taken by a passenger to settle payment.


6. We intend to prescribe three alternative formats for the receipt to avoid passenger confusion. These formats are described below and illustrated in Annex A -

  1. Format 1 is a simplified receipt. This receipt can be produced by most conventional printers within 12 seconds. Some of these printers can be added onto some existing taximeters. There should be a bilingual explanatory note pre-printed at the back of the receipt.
  2. Format 2 is a full receipt in simplified Chinese characters. This receipt requires the use of a high-quality printer with more pins to enable the printing of Chinese characters within 12 seconds. There should be an explanatory note in English pre-printed at the back of the receipt.
  3. Format 3 is a full bilingual receipt in Chinese and English. It can be produced by a high-quality and high speed printer within 12 seconds. No explanatory note is required at the back of the receipt.

7. In the event that the printing device is out of order, taxi drivers will be permitted to fill out and issue a hand-written receipt using a pre-printed form during such times. The proposed format of the hand-written receipt is shown in Annex B. These pre-printed forms should be provided by the trade itself.

Feedback from the Trade

8. Whilst some taxi operators welcome the proposal, others have expressed concern that there would be an increase in operating costs and that the time taken to issue receipts would lead to traffic delays. Some taxi operators have also criticised the fare receipt requirement for not being effective in solving the problem of over-charging, particularly meter tampering.

The Administration’s Response

9. The cost of installing a receipt-printing device will be borne by the taxi owner, but it would form only a small proportion of the capital cost of a taxi. Taxi operators will also be allowed a choice of equipment so that they may have a fair price offer from suppliers. The recurrent cost is estimated to be small. The proposed receipt formats have been designed taking into account the need for a short printing time, which is not expected to cause traffic delays.

10. The fare receipt requirement is only one of the proposed measures to tackle the problem of overcharging and meter tampering. Other measures already introduced include the use of anti-tampering meters, increased police enforcement action, and the introduction of higher maximum penalties for overcharging offences.


11. In the next few months, the Road Traffic (Construction and Maintenance of Vehicles) Regulations will be amended to require taxi owners to install taximeters which can print receipts of a format and within the time specified by the Commissioner for Transport. The Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations will also be amended to require taxi drivers to issue fare receipts at the request of passengers.

12. It is intended that within one year from the enactment of the amendment regulations, all taxis will be required to install receipt-printing taximeters and all drivers will be required to issue fare receipts on demand.

Transport Branch
Government Secretariat
(TBCR 1/9/581/85)
14 December 1996

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