Uber in Hong Kong is to increase its base fare by more than double and introduce a waiting fee, the car hailing service announced on Monday.
From Wednesday, the base fares for trips on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon will both be raised to HK$18 (US$2.30) – an 80 per cent and 157 per cent increase respectively – but trips in the New Territories will remain at HK$8.
The fee per kilometre will also be standardised for Kowloon and Hong Kong Island trips at HK$5.50 – a 10 per cent increase and reduction respectively. Trips in the New Territories remain unchanged at HK$5 per kilometre.
The fare rises mean longer journeys will cost a bit less while shorter ones cost more.
Uber, which has operated in Hong Kong for four years, last raised fares a year ago.
Passengers who keep drivers waiting before a trip begins will be billed HK$2 per minute after the driver has been at the pickup location for three minutes.
Despite the fare rises, Uber will offer a 30 per cent discount on all trips from Monday until September 9.
A trip from Hung Hom to Tsuen Wan will be increased to HK$140 – a 29 per cent rise – after the adjustment upon the new fares and before the temporary discount.
A journey between Causeway Bay and Hong Kong International Airport will cost HK$294 – a 4.5 per cent decrease after the fare revision and excluding the discount.
By comparison, an urban taxi charges a base fare of HK$24 for the first 2km and HK$1.70 per 200 metres thereafter until the price reaches HK$83.50. After that, the charge drops to HK$1.20 per 200 metres.
In the New Territories, the flag fall is HK$20.50 for the first 2km with the fare then rising HK$1.50 for every 200 metres until the price reaches HK$65.50. The charge falls to HK$1.20 per 200 metres after that.
An Uber spokeswoman said fares and products varied from market to market, for example, the waiting fee had been introduced in places such as Australia and Tokyo.
Uber is deemed illegal in Hong Kong as drivers do not possess any hire car permit and drivers have been fined in court.
Last month a group of 28 Hong Kong Uber drivers were handed fines of between HK$3,800 and HK$4,500 after being found guilty of driving passengers without a hire car permit.
The group was the largest in the city to be successfully prosecuted for offering ride-sharing services.
The 28 defendants, aged between 22 and 60, had pleaded not guilty. Some were unemployed or retired, while others declared occupations including construction worker, insurance agent, teacher, trading agent, advertising agent and shop owner.
After the case the Transport Department said it would issue a notice of intention to suspend the licences of the drivers.
Under Hong Kong law, driving a car for hire without a permit is a criminal offence punishable by a HK$5,000 fine and three months imprisonment on first conviction, and HK$10,000 and six months jail on subsequent convictions.
This article Uber raises base fares by up to 157 per cent and introduces waiting fee for passengers in Hong Kong first appeared on South China Morning Post
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