Hong Kong’s taxi-hailing app HKTaxi is planning to bid for the city’s premium taxi franchise, according to the South China Morning Post.
The founders of the app, Kay Lui and Maff Wong, have unveiled plans to bid for the operation of 200 premium taxis under the proposed franchised taxi scheme, one-third of the quotas proposed by the government.
Under the plan, a new fleet of 600 higher quality taxis would operate across Hong Kong. Three franchises would be granted after a tender process, with each running 200 taxis which can charge fares 50% higher than the normal rate.
HKTaxi is the first platform to announce its plans to bid for the franchise, as the founders believe the government is serious about improving the taxi industry in Hong Kong.
Also, it hopes the scheme will change Hong Kong’s notorious, yet old-fashioned taxi industry. For example, the industry has been the subject of complaints by citizens for overcharging, taking circuitous routes and cherry-picking passengers.
Lui said in the interview that after its assessment, HKTaxi would need an investment of HK$100 million for running 200 premium taxis. He is optimistic about the future and believes the app can make a profit with its existing platform.
Established in July 2013, HKTaxi is one of the city’s most popular taxi-hailing apps. Through ads on Facebook and word-of-mouth, the app has attracted attention from the public. Currently, HKTaxi serves up to 50,000 passengers each day.