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Mobile office

One of the more intriguing sights in Hong Kong is a taxi equipped with an array of mobile phones.  The driver then has a Bluetooth headset in each ear, or a collection of earpieces ready to plug in as required, so that he can answer any of his phones.

These are the people you call if you want a taxi and prefer to have a discount rather than paying a surcharge.  With the cost of both phones and mobile subscriptions so low, it is possible to set up this type of system quite cheaply, and there is no overhead of an office or staff to answer the phones.  If someone requests a taxi, the driver will use another mobile phone to find a driver who is available.

You might think that this type of free enterprise would be applauded, but technically it is illegal, and the people who do it are described as "gangs" by the SCMP.  Thousands of Hong Kong people are only too happy to use the service, and you might think that in the world's freest economy this type of free enterprise would be applauded, but if you live here for long you soon discover that isn't quite how things work...

Comments

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weenie

Enterprising yes, but isn't it a bit risky? I thought the whole point of the office/staff taking the call was that the booking would be registered and logged. The other service you're describing is unregistered, who knows if the driver is even legal/insured/qualified? Ok, maybe I've been living in Manchester to long but you get my point? :-)

Richard H

This nicely explains why Hong Kong's mobile phone penetration rate is around 140%. One of the highest in the world.

A taxi driver that focuses on just driving - that would be a novelty.

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