Executive Council spokesman Leong Heng Teng said on Tuesday that the government has drafted a bill regulating the city’s taxi sector, which proposes that cabbies caught refusing to pick up passengers or overcharging them four times within five years will have their taxi-driving licences cancelled.
Addressing a press conference at Government Headquarters, Leong said that the council, the government’s top advisory body, had completed its discussion of the bill, which aims to ensure the service quality provided by taxi drivers.
The bill is now slated to be submitted to the Legislative Assembly (AL) for debate and vote.
Leong pointed out that the government has drafted the bill based on opinions collected during a public consultation on the matter and with reference to the relevant laws in neighbouring regions and countries, as well as taking the real situation in Macau into account.
The bill will be submitted in due course to the AL for debate and vote.
The government launched a public consultation in 2014 on the drafting of a new law regulating the city’s taxi sector, to replace the existing taxi regulation which came into force in late 1999, i.e. shortly before the establishment of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR).
According to the Macau Post Daily, civic leaders and commentators had slammed the government for still not having submitted the bill to the legislature after the respective public consultation a number of years ago.
According to Leong, the bill proposes that a cabbie will have his or her taxi-driving licence cancelled for committing serious administrative violations such as refusing to pick up passengers and overcharging them four times within five years, apart from facing a raft of hefty fines.
According to the bill, a cabbie whose taxi-driving licence has been cancelled will only be allowed to take an examination if they wished to retain the licence three years after his or her licence was cancelled
Taxi vehicle licence owners and taxi drivers face a fine of between 300 patacas and 25,000 patacas for violating different rules listed in the existing taxi regulation.
According to Leong, the bill proposes that taxi drivers will face a fine of between 600 patacas and 30,000 patacas for violating various rules. The bill proposes that the fine for those refusing to pick up passengers will be raised to 3,000 patacas, Leong said.
According to Leong, the bill proposes that the fine for providing unlicensed passenger transport services will be increased to 90,000 patacas.
The bill proposes that only companies will be allowed to bid for a licence to operate common taxis, as opposed to the current situation in which common taxi-vehicle licences are granted to individual bidders, according to Leong.
According to the website of the Transport Bureau (DSAT), there were 1,497 common taxis at the end of last year. Among the common taxis, 600 have a permanent taxi licence, while the others have a licence valid for eight years. The government stopped issuing permanent taxi licences many years ago and it first issued non-permanent common taxi licences about a decade ago.