Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes said Wednesday that her office had received a large number of complaints about the city’s taxis from residents and tourists alike during the past two years.
Senna Fernandes made the remarks while speaking to reporters at the Venetian in Cotai on the sidelines of a seminar of the ongoing three-day Global Gaming Expo Asia (G2E Asia) which ends today.
Senna Fernandes also said that her office had passed complaints about the city’s taxi industry to the Transport Bureau (DSAT) almost on a weekly basis during the two-year period. She did not elaborate on the number of complaints.
The police announced on Tuesday the arrest of a rogue taxi driver who had refused to let a female tourist from Taiwan get out of his cab as he “wasn’t paid the fare he expected”. The 26-year-old cabbie faces abduction and extortion charges, according to articles 152 and 215 of the Macau Penal Code, facing up to 12 years and eight years behind bars respectively.
When asked by the media about the latest rogue cabbie case, Senna Fernandes said it did not mean that Macau’s taxi industry as a whole is providing passengers with bad services. She was quick to admit that there are some rogue taxi drivers who often overcharge passengers or refuse to pick up them, which she said was jeopardising Macau’s image as a tourism city.
Senna Fernandes admitted that the latest case has further worsened the already bad image of Macau’s taxi sector by some tourists, adding that the government did not want the bad image to spread even further among tourists.
Senna Fernandes said she hoped that the future taxi sector law, combined with stronger law enforcement by the police, would effectively combat taxi service violations.
Last month, the Legislative Assembly (AL) passed the outline of a government-initiated bill regulating the city’s taxi sector, which aims to ensure the service quality provided by taxi drivers. The bill is currently under review article-by-article by one of the legislature’s three standing committees.
The bill proposes that a cabbie will have his or her taxi-driving licence cancelled for committing serious administrative violations such as refusing to pick up passengers and overcharging them four times within five years, apart from facing a raft of hefty fines.