One of the most striking statistics about Hong Kong is how there are far more phones than people in the territory.

Many people have 2 phones – an iPhone and a Blackberry – but this cabbie has 6 phones.

He uses them to take calls like a one-man cab driver-cum-dispatcher. For several of them he uses the “walkie-talkie” function with a custom-built hands free system. These multiple phones do not make one feel wildly safe while driving along the cliff hugging bends on Hong Kong’s south side.

It has actually surprised me how cabs still take calls manually in Hong Kong. An automated system with GPS linking cabs to clients would increase efficiency and quickly eliminate the need for so many phones.

Someone please write an app so that this guy can have just one phone and concentrate more on driving!

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  1. There isn't a better system because these are all rouge '20% off' taxi networks, and so technically they do not exist. however there is one described official program,… but it doesnt work very well because all you can see is locations of taxis (occupied or not)

    i am still waiting for HK bus networks to catch up with the rest of the world and have a system that can tell me when the next BUS is coming, in simple minutes or location. i mean look at finland's tram live map:

  2. Yes, agree totally with your point about buses. Paris has a system that lets you know when the bus is arriving. Makes a big difference.

  3. Bus frequency for most routes in HK are so high, hence the “need” or ”urgency” for such a system isn’t really there.

    I’m a frequent visitor to HK, and their public transport system is the last thing I’ll ever complain about.

    With regards to the taxis and their cellphones, this is a necessity for some. For the particular individual pictured above, he’s probably a “leader” who’s working as the dispatcher for his group of taxis.

    But I agree that six phones is overkill. Maybe at least 3-4, but not 6.

  4. Agree for most buses, but the bus lines near my house are so infrequent that they really do need list of when the bus is coming. At morning rush hour (7.30am to 9.45am) you can wait 15 mins for a bus that is not empty.

  5. taxi app

    there is an app for that
    app for android and iphone, pure GPS and Internet based standards, no localization needed.
    pure p2p system between driver and passenger,
    the end of switchboards as we know them.
    license and franchising model available, already licensed to a company in Australia.

  6. Most of managing a good service is actually managing the waiting time for customers. food, transport, theme parks, doctors, shopping, either by reduction, elimination, or distraction.

  7. I would add to your list “information”. I don't actually mind waiting for a bit longer as long as I know the bus is actually on the way. Same with a delayed flight. Just tell me reality, so I can deal with it.

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  9. Andy Massey

    Pah! Only six telephones?! I'll raise you 3: check out this mad taxi driver whose cab I was in – he had 9 (nine!) telephones, including one strapped to the steering wheel, with cables routed round the window and down to his right ear:

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