Q1. Can taxi drivers refuse hiring or select passengers?
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 Regulation 37(a) of the Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations (Cap. 374D).
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 assess on an objective standard depending on the particular facts of the case.
[See HKSAR v Ho Loy (2016) 19 HKCFAR 110 at paragraph 36]
Wilful meant “deliberate and intentional” but also encompasses recklessness. Recklessness:-
“… in the context of the case before me, must mean either a total disregard or non-caring as to whether the offence was committed, or an appreciation of the dangers and nonetheless proceeding to take the risk.”
[See HKSAR v Stephen Daryl Barnes  2 HKLRD 495 at 498G-H]
While whether a taxi driver has reasonable excuse in refuse hiring or selecting passenger is a question of fact, the refusal of hiring is generally prohibited.