Transport Secretary Frank Chan rolled his sleeves up and donned a pair of rubber gloves on Monday to help taxi drivers scrub their vehicles clean as part of a campaign aimed at making people more comfortable about hailing cabs during the current virus outbreak.
Taxi and minibus drivers are also being given free face masks and disinfectant spray to sterilise their vehicles, with fresh supplies available at LPG stations to ensure their vehicles stay clean.
The campaign was launched at an event in Central, with Chan grabbing a bucket of water and a cloth as he set about cleaning a few of the taxis there.
The chairman of the Hong Kong Taxi Council, Hung Wing-tat, told RTHK's Richard Pyne that passenger numbers have recently dropped significantly, with people worried about catching the virus while they travel.
"You can see a long queue of taxis in taxi stands and you can see only a few passengers on the minibuses. So the business loss, I would say, is 70 percent. So we really need to give the passengers confidence to take these [modes of] transport in order to resume normal business," Hung said.
He added that many minibuses and taxis left idle have been given parking fines because the drivers couldn't find authorised spots to park in.
But the authorities have since helped to locate parking spaces for the vehicles, Hung said.