Mon, Jun 17, 2019 - Page 15 News List

New Uber model to break deadlock with regulators

By Kao Shih-ching  /  Staff reporter

Uber Technologies Inc on Friday said it would adopt a new business model in Taiwan to break the deadlock with local regulators.

The company has been wrangling with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) over a proposed law amendment that would prohibit it from using its current business model, despite protests from Uber’s 250,000 consumers, Uber Taiwan general manager Willy Wu (吳罡) told a news conference in Taipei.

“Uber Taiwan will create a new business model that is acceptable to the ministry,” Wu said. “We aim to work out a solution now that the ministry has revised the rules.”

Citing a poll the company conducted from May 9 to 20, Wu said 77 percent of respondents objected to the new regulation, 63 percent believed it would have a negative impact on foreign investment in Taiwan, 61 percent expected an impact on local transportation and 60 percent forecast drivers’ revenue would drop due to the new regulations.

“We need to find a win-win solution rather than the current all-lose situation,” he said.

Under the new regulations, the ministry would fine rental businesses working with Uber if they continue their existing business model.

Wu said the new business model has not been finalized, as Uber Taiwan needs to discuss with the ministry about the new regulations which are to take effect in early October.

“We hope the ministry can clearly tell us what changes it wants us to make so we can proceed with creating the new model,” Wu said.

However, Uber would not become a taxi dispatcher as the ministry has suggested, he said, adding that consumers love Uber because it offers a service that differs from that of traditional taxis, while requirements such as installing fee calculators are out of date.

“We do not want to lose our competitive advantages, such as dynamic pricing and upfront pricing that allow passengers to know how much they will pay,” he said.

Wu dismissed the ministry’s remarks that Uber’s South Korean branch has registered as a taxi company, saying that the South Korean branch cooperates with taxi companies in the same way as Uber Taiwan.

Since its return to Taiwan in 2017, Uber and its partners, including drivers and rental car businesses, have generated NT$5 billion (US$158.6 million) in revenue, he said.

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