Why taxi's should be forced to accept the Octopus Card, Discovery Bay - Hong Kong's own gated community and West Kowloon from the Harbour
Every now and then (and alarmingly more now than then) something happens that makes Hong Kong the laughing stock of the world... this particular story has legs... now I have personal experience of overcharging cabbies (more on that later) but it is not a huge problem, what is a problem is abuse of power by petty minded Government types.
It has since transpired that the woman passenger who complained to the Police that a cabbie shortchanged her by HK$0.50! worked for the ICAC, our fabled Corruption Police. As far as I am concerned the real story behind this story is the mentality of a person who works for the Government actually pursuing a case through the courts for HK$0.50 - it defies logic and as one newspaper reported, you would not want to cross this lady.
The ICAC and the Police here have never really gotten along (a very long story) and it wouldn't surprise me if this case was reported to the Police just to annoy them as they are bound by law to take action. silly, very silly.
Going after cabbies who "overcharge" by HK$0.50 is stupid, going after cabbies who set out to cheat as many people as possible is another thing altogether and there has been a surge in complaints about dodgy cab drivers recently.
Doing what I do, I come across nefarious cab drivers all to frequently I am sad to say, most of the time they do the very simple trick of going the long way banking on the fact that tourists would have no idea of the route, if I am in the cab they have a problem because I know all the routes.
Just a few weeks back I had a situation where we had to get 2 taxi's because there were 7 of us, we wanted to go to the Peak from Wanchai (around HK$60) - my cab got there very quickly.. the other cab turned up 20 minutes later (with a fare of HK$115) and incredulously the taxi driver claimed he had no idea where the Peak was and how to get there - I had told the guy where to go when my clients got in his cab and he had no problem understanding me. Not knowing where the Peak is, is like claiming you do not know how to get to Buckingham Palace in London or 5th Avenue in New York. - a simple and effective scam.
The point is, it is about time our Government forced taxi drivers to accept the Octopus Card our absolutely brilliant travel card - we have 15,000 red urban cabs but so far only about 300 have the Octopus card reader... the Octopus card can be used on buses, ferries, the trains, minibuses etc but not cabs unless you get lucky.
I understand the reluctance of the cabbies to embrace the Octopus card but the transaction does allow you to add a tip, so what's the problem??
I am hoping that the Government will make it mandatory and the sooner the better to have cabbies accept the Octopus Card, this will stop a lot (but not all) of the scams they pull against unsuspecting tourists.
I cannot deny that living at Discover Bay on Lantau Island is an attractive proposition for expats particularly if you have kids and dogs, in essence it is a gated community and very expensive and to be honest you could not pay me to live there.. still it has nice houses and apartments, beautiful countryside, lots of shops and restaurants and you live amongst like minded individuals, I still think it is like the place in the Stepford Wives movie.
Cars and motorbikes are NOT allowed in Discovery Bay, instead you can rent one of these things for around HK$6,500 per month or if you have more money than sense you can buy one for around HK$2 million. I would prefer to walk or take any one of the numerous buses.
Idyllic living in Discovery Bay as long as you follow the rules, it seems that rules are meant to be broken as I saw many dogs being walked when I was there..all I could think of when I was there was just how sanitised the place was, not my cup of tea at all
This was the morning after the "big storm" when we had 7 inches of rain in 9 hours! it was a lovely clear morning perfect for photography, ICC is our tallest building and is surrounded by very expensive apartment blocks.
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