Macau | Gov't proposes taxi driver licenses be revoked after four serious infractions

Proposed changes to taxi service regulations in Macau suggest taxi drivers could see their license revoked after committing four serious infractions in a five year period and that drivers should have to install GPS and sound recording systems in their vehicles

Macau (MNA) – The Macau Chief Executive announced this Tuesday it has concluded proposed changes for taxi service regulations in the city, while revealing some details on the proposal to be sent for discussion at the Legislative Assembly (AL).

The government proposes that in case a taxi driver commits four serious administrative infractions in a five year period his taxi driving license will be revoked, with the driver only allowed to conduct a driving exam to regain its licence three years after the suspension.

Serious infractions include cases of refusing to provide taxi services to certain clients, haggle prices, or charge an excessive tariff, with government representatives not describing all the increases in detail but informing all fine amounts are to be increased.

In 2017 there were 5,491 taxi infractions registered by authorities, a 32.2 per cent year-on-year increase.

Government representatives informed the proposal suggested fines for providing taxi services in a vehicle without the respective fine should be increased from MOP25,000 to MOP90,000, with the fine for multiple excessive charging infractions increased from MOP1,000 to MOP15,000.

The taxi licence holder would be responsible for any fines given for infractions committed to the driver using its license.

In order to increase the efficiency of the fine application, the government proposed to implement the immediate indictment system included in the 2007 Traffic Law, whereby police authorities can immediately notify the driver on site of its fine.

In case the taxi driver pays his fine in a 15 days period, the total amount would reduced by two thirds.

The Public Security Police will be in charge policing infractions and enforcing fines, with the law proposal admitting the use of covert officers, while the Transport Bureau (DSAT) would be responsible for license or vehicle requirements infractions.

Only companies with a social capital of MOP5 million will be allowed to apply for taxi licenses, with the CE spokesperson stating the government considered companies had a better management of the licenses than an individual holder.

The transfer of taxi licenses, wither temporary or permanently, would be prohibited.

Taxi licence holders will also have one year after the law is enforced to implement sound recording devices and GPS system in their vehicles, with authorities saying the Office for Personal Data Protection (GPDP) gave a positive assessment of it as method of collecting evidence on infractions.

“We studied the cases where video and sound recording are used at the same time and we concluded that taking in consideration the characteristics of the Macau society, for surveillance to be mandatory it is better to only have sound recording, in order to protect the rights of clients and taxi drivers,” the CE spokesperson, Leong Heng Teng, indicated.

The announcement comes four years after a public consultation on the regulations was conducted, with the proposal set to upgrade regulations first enforced in 1999.

According to the government there are currently some 16,000 taxi licenses in Macau and future proposals to increase the number of licenses would be considered.