Sat, Jun 14, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Eleven taxi drivers protest against new plan to limit stops

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

About a dozen independent taxi drivers protested outside the Legislative Yuan yesterday against the Ministry of Transportation and Communications’ (MOTC) plan to limit taxi drivers to picking up passengers at designated taxi stands.

The ministry said earlier this month that local governments had been considering banning the “wave-and-stop” practice for years. Governments are planning to set up stands to reduce gas consumption by stopping cabbies from driving around all day.

The ministry also said yesterday that the gas subsidy for taxis would end this year and be replaced by a set of new measures.

Protesters said in a statement that the government should subsidize taxis using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) if it really wanted to save energy and promote “eco-friendliness.”

The 11 taxi drivers attending the rally were far outnumbered by policemen and reporters covering the event. The 11 said they did not belong to any taxi company.

But representatives of taxi service operators and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers later showed up at the rally later to show their support.

Chiu Yi-chi (邱奕枝), chairman of Chuanmin Taxi, said the taxi rank plan would be inconvenient for both drivers and passengers.

“We came out today just to show our anger at the policy,” he said.

DPP Legislator Wang Sing-nan (王幸男) said the law characterized taxis as public transportation, which meant taxi drivers are entitled to gas subsidies.

“As a lawmaker on the Transportation Committee, I will ask the ministry to continue the subsidy for taxi drivers,” he said.

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