Lantau taxi drivers maybe HK’s best-paid

Lantau taxi drivers are possibly the best-paid in Hong Kong after incomes skyrocketed during the tourist boom 2013-15.

This chart (below), prepared by the Legco Research Office, puts the income for blue cab rentee-drivers at $18,500 a month, $1000 more than Hong Kong drivers and nearly $2000 more than NT drivers.

The figures are not recent, however. The latest is from the first half of 2016 which coincides with the issue of another 25 blue taxi licences to relieve the shortage.

The auction of extra plates has eased taxi waiting times in Lantau, but it’s not clear what impact it has had on incomes.

However, the chart shows steep rise in Lantau taxi income in 2013-14, which was when local residents found taxis hard to come by.

That period coincided with strong growth of tourists, travelling mostly between Tung Chung, Disneyland and the airport, stranding Lantau’s small taxi fleet on the north coast.

It was a boon for drivers though. Average monthly earnings spiked from around HK$10,000 in early 2013 – the lowest of any drivers – to the highest in 2014.

But even the best-paid cabbies are paid less than truck and bus drivers, the figures show.

For that reason cab owners are increasingly looking beyond Lantau for drivers, which is why blue cabs are sometimes seen as far afield as Fanling, this story in Skypost reveals.

Another chart in the Legco paper shows that taxi drivers across Hong Kong are involved in more accidents than any other public transport category.

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