Mon, Dec 10, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Uber wins right to operate in Taiwan again

QUESTION OF AUTHORITY:The court revoked fines of more than NT$30m, which the Directorate-General of Highways imposed on the firm, but the ruling can be appealed

Staff writer, with CNA

The Taipei High Administrative Court on Saturday ruled in favor of Uber Taiwan, the local subsidiary of Uber Technologies Inc, giving the ride-hailing service the right to resume operations in Taiwan and removing a series of heavy fines that were imposed on the company.

In the case brought by Uber Taiwan against the Directorate-General of Highways (DGH), the court said the DGH does not have the authority to impose fines on the company or to stop its operations.

Such decisions fall under the jurisdiction of the transport authority of Taipei, the city in which the firm is registered, the court said, upholding Uber’s argument in the case.

The court revoked the DGH’s fines totaling more than NT$30 million (US$972,731) against Uber Taiwan and the order for the company to cease operations.

From September 2014 to February last year, Uber and its 233 drivers were hit with a series of fines for contraventions of the Highway Act (公路法), which bans unlicensed operators of transportation services.

The DGH sought a court order to collect the fines, which ranged from NT$50,000 to NT$150,000, and demanded a shutdown of Uber’s business.

In February last year, Uber decided to withdraw from the Taiwanese market, but returned two months later with a new business model under which it partnered with car rental companies to provide taxi services.

Under the new arrangement, Uber was no longer hiring vehicle owners directly to provide a ride hailing service, but rather was employing drivers to operate cars registered to rental companies.

Uber argued that its revised business model was in line with Article 100 of the Transportation Management Regulations (汽車運輸業管理規則), which allows car rental companies to hire drivers to provide taxi services.

Before Uber came up with the new business model, it was penalized by authorities for operating a transportation service while being registered as an information services firm.

The ruling can be appealed.

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