In my latest trip to Hong Kong, I did not buy the Octopus card because I did not take the MTR. This was my first trip with a toddler and a baby in tow and taxi is definitely more convenient. Yes, I think in total I spent close to RM1,000 for taxi fares. Perhaps that’s because I did not plan well. I love to speak to these taxi drivers as they are definitely one of the most on the ground locals that we can find. One in particular told me that he survived after suffering a heart-attack and crashing his taxi. Someone saw the accident and sent him to the hospital. Miraculously, he survived and today is back to full-time work.
At the time, he was driving non-stop everyday, apart from his sleeping time. Thus he was eating supper everyday and this caused his cholesterol to build up, arteries clogged and the heart attack came one day. The reason he was driving like a possessed man? He wanted to finish paying for his taxi and the permit as fast as he could. The taxi and the permit was at the time HK$3,500,000. (RM1,860,000). He could earn a nett income of about HK$25,000 and thus besides his small apartment, he was also paying for his taxi the fastest way he could; maximising his time on the road. He told me that these days, he no longer takes oily supper, (fried food, intestines etc) preferring to be healthier. He has FIVE kids! Time for family is now important and he strives for work-life balance.
As I was interested to know more about taxi and permits in Hong Kong, I googled for more news and today, the investment needed for one taxi and a permit is RM4 million. (HK$7.66 million) In fact some investors have started to accumulate these ‘investments’ instead. One good reading is here. I think for newer taxi drivers in Hong Kong, that option to buy the permit and the taxi will take them many years of working extremely hard. These taxi drivers would also have to contend with very high property prices. Of course, since they are driving, they could stay further away so that properties become more affordable. I arrived home from Hong Kong with a new understanding that regardless of the country, working hard should be a virtue all of us should have. Yes, plus non-stop learning and investing. I think I will be back to Hong Kong again. Happy travelling.
written on 19 Sept 2016
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