Taxi shenanigans: One driver arrested for overcharging, another attacked after fare dispute

In the sort of fantasy scenario indulged by many an aggrieved taxi passenger, undercover police officers last night swooped in and, disguised as revelers, arrested a cabbie for hiking a fare from Central.

According to Apple Daily, the early morning crackdown on overcharging — a common complaint from those attempting to get a ride after the MTR stops running — saw officers get in a taxi on D’Aguilar Street and request a ride to a hotel in Jervois Street, Sheung Wan.

Arriving at the destination, the 73-year-old driver, who didn’t turn on the meter, demanded HK$100, about four times the normal price of about HK$24.

Then … the reveal.

The driver was arrested for overcharging and refusing to use the meter.

Meanwhile, over in Wan Chai, an argument over fares and destination between a cabbie and two drunk passengers also didn’t end well.

According to Ming Pao, police are looking for two foreign men who attacked a 65-year-old driver after disputing the fare from Lockhart Road in Wan Chai to Tseung Kwan O.

The incident follows an eruption of violence against a taxi driver in Tsim Sha Tsui just two weeks ago, when a 28-year-old, upset at being refused a ride, threw a bar stool through a cab’s window and chased the driver around the car.

The Transport Complaints Bureau, according to its most recent statistics, received a total of 2,720 reports about taxi services in the last quarter of 2017. The figure marked a 6.8 percent drop from the previous quarter, though represented a 2.8 percent increased compared to the same period in 2016.

But really, how many people who have issues with the city’s taxis have the willpower to actually file a complaint.

Some 97 percent of the cases related to “driver malpractice,” which included cabbies refusing fares, improper driving behavior, overcharging, meter irregularities, and failure to take the most direct route.

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