New taxi regulations enforcement to start today

Macau (MNA) – New taxi regulations imposing higher fines for infractions and the installation of sound and video recording devices in taxis started being enforced on Monday.

The new regulations will replace a legal framework for taxis that had been in force since 1999, with the Transport Bureau (DSAT) stating they are intended to better prevent and fight infractions by taxi drivers, ‘as well as safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of taxis and passengers’ by imposing new administrative measures, reinforce overseeing powers and increase the value of fines imposed for infractions.

Under the new framework the supervision of taxi operations will not just solely be on the shoulders of the Transport Bureau (DSAT) but will also be the responsibility of the Public Security Police (CPSP).

Taxi owners will also have 18 months to equip their vehicles with global satellite navigation systems (GPS) tracking, plus sound and image recording equipment.

These recording devices will have to accurately record the date and time of recording of sounds and images, and clearly record the conversation content between the taxi driver and the passenger inside the passenger compartment and clearly identify of the taxi driver’s and passenger’s face, even if the taxi is in circulation at night.

The recorded information will be automatically stored up to 15 minutes after the vehicle’s engine system is switched off and will stored in the corresponding device for a 30 days period, automatically being destroyed after that period.

A protection is to be installed in the devices in order to prevent the information recorded from being illegally collected, copied, deleted, destroyed, damaged, suppressed or modified, the law published today at Official Gazette indicates.

Taxi vehicle licenses or taxi driver licenses will also be able to be suspended or cancelled if the holder commits four infractions within a five year period.

Higher fines of up to MOP9,000 (US$1,114) for different infractions were also included in the new bill, although an initial draft of the bill proposed fines of up to MOP30,000 for several infringements, an amount that was latter reduced after consensus between authorities and legislators discussing the bill.

Macau authorities have also approved three draft supplementary administrative regulations that regulate the requirements, inspections and term of use of taxis; specific training courses for taxi drivers; and regulations for taxi stands, pick-up and drop-off areas.

‘DSAT calls for attention from the taxi sector to the new law being enforced and also calls on passengers to pay attention to what is required by law,’ authorities stated today.

MNA recently reported that a study conducted by an Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT) student researcher concerning tourist perceptions of local taxi services, showed that about 44.1 per cent of respondents had a local taxi driver refuse them a ride, with 37.3 per cent considering they had been overcharged.

In 2018, the Public Security Police Force (CPSP) issued 6,126 fines to taxi drivers, a 12 per cent year-on-year increase, with 3,846 cases concerning overcharging.