【明報專訊】THE GOVERNMENT is mulling over a new demerit point system (commonly known as penalty points) for taxi drivers committing offences such as failing to take the most direct route, refusing a hire and overcharging. While some taxi associations are pleased with the new system, some other associations have criticised the proposed reduction of 5 points for offences like "not carrying enough notes and coins for giving change" for being too harsh. Given the fact that the general public is outraged by the behaviour of some taxi drivers in Hong Kong, the introduction of the penalty system is indeed a step in the right direction. We can leave the details of the point deduction scheme until detailed discussions. However, what the government should do is more than punishment. It should get to the root of the problem, requiring all taxi drivers to receive pre-service training as an entry requirement of their job. It should also put the idea of franchised taxis into practice and judge the quality of taxi services by a higher standard. It should then study the possibility of a gradual opening up of the market for "online car-hailing".