Q4. If a passenger wants to cross the harbour, can a taxi driver refuse hiring?
No. The driver of a taxi shall not without reasonable excuse wilfully refuse or neglect to accept a hire from a hirer whether the intention of such hirer is indicated expressly or by implication: see Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations (Cap. 374D), Regulation 37(1).
In determining whether the driver of a taxi has a reasonable excuse, the Court will look at the following three circumstances :-
- The matters said to constitute reasonable excuse must be identified;
- Whether the excuse is genuine, since the reason asserted for departing from a relevant prescription must be the real reason for doing so;
- Whether that excuse is reasonable, which the court will do on an objective standard depending on the particular facts of the case.
[See HKSAR v Ho Loy (2016) 19 HKCFAR 110]
A passenger’s request for crossing the harbour is not a reasonable excuse for refusing hiring: see香港特別行政區 訴 陳楚民 (HCMA 117/2011, 30 December 2011).
However, a driver of a taxi which is standing or plying for hire at a cross-harbour taxi stand may refuse to accept any hire which is not for a destination across the harbour via the cross-harbour tunnels: see Regulation 37B of the Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations (Cap. 374D).
If a cross-harbour stand taxi and a non-cross-harbour taxi stand are next to each other, can a driver of a taxi which is standing or plying for hire at a non-cross-harbour taxi stand refuse to accept any hire?
No, the fact that there is another cross-harbour taxi stand nearby does not exonerate a taxi driver’s general obligation not to wilfully refuse or neglect to accept a hire without reasonable excuse. The fact that there is another cross-harbour taxi stand nearby is not a reasonable excuse for refusing to accept any hire.
Thus, the driver of a taxi which is standing or plying fore hire at a non-cross—harbour taxi stand may not refuse to accept any hire.