A local group has in three weeks got 5,470 people to sign a petition, urging the government to solve the city’s poor taxi service at once as the situation is getting worse.
Macau Taxi Passengers Association (MTPA) President Andrew W. Scott submitted the petition to a representative of the Transport Bureau (DSAT) yesterday.
“The taxis [drivers] are a real disgrace at the moment in Macau,” Scott told reporters at the DSAT Tuesday, “It’s embarrassing to say it but there is violence with taxi drivers, ripping people off… the governments really got to do something about.”
According to Scott, he has learnt of three separate incidents in the last two weeks of potential taxi passengers being beaten up by aggressive taxi drivers outside the West Lobby of the Venetian.
“The problem is that the Macau taxi industry got worse two to three years ago and in the last six months, it’s just been shocking, it’s been abysmal,” Scott said, “Every single person in Macau has a taxi horror story, so the ideal result would be they [the government] do something straight away.”
The petition urges the government to use undercover officers, e-taxi licences, GPS tracking, audio-visual recording equipment, more taxi-related enforcement power to the police, more taxi ranks, on-the-spot evidence collection, increased penalties and possible licence suspension for violations, as ways to fix the taxi issue.
According to Scott, 97 percent of the 20,089 responses in the government’s recent public consultation acknowledged the need of undercover officers as a way to prevent taxi drivers from overcharging and “fishing” (choosing) passengers.
“We’ve got a new [policy] secretary in charge of this [bureau] now, hopefully he’ll take the issue seriously and fix it,” Scott said, adding that something needed to be done immediately “before somebody is seriously injured or maybe even killed. I hope that doesn’t happen but with how things are right now, somebody could easily been killed by a taxi driver in a confrontation.”
In addition, the group will also be handing out 10,000 business type cards to locals and tourists in the days leading up to Christmas about the taxi situation in Macau, and advising them not to give in to taxi drivers who are “fishing” and overcharging. The information on the card, which includes a complaint hotline, will be available in traditional and simplified Chinese characters, English and Portuguese.(macaunews/macaupost)