Mon, Nov 22, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Ministry rewriting taxi regulations to encourage pooling

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

Taxi pooling could save passengers money after the Ministry of Transportation and Communications completes an amendment to taxi regulations next year.

Chen Yen-po (陳彥伯), director-general of the Department of Railways and Highways, yesterday said that the ministry was working on the principles governing how different taxi-pool rates will be calculated — including how each passenger should be charged when there are two, three or four passengers in a cab — in the amendment.

The amendment could also require that cabs offering carpool services identify themselves with special signs.

“The taxi driver would also be required to inform passengers at a taxi-pool stop of the expected waiting time before passengers consider going alone,” Chen said. “The rate would also be different if there is only one passenger in the taxi.”

Aside from regulations governing relations between passengers and taxi drivers, Chen said the amendment would also touch on taxi services, including the size of taxi fleets.

The department said during a ministerial meeting last week that it was scheduled to complete all the necessary amendments by July 31.

The department also said that there are currently 88,000 taxis operating across Taiwan. Though high, this represented a 22 percent drop over the past decade amid shrinking demand for the service.

Factors such as mass rapid transit systems have caused the supply of taxi services to exceed demand, it said.

While the taxi vacancy rate, which refers to how much time taxis spend driving around without passengers, has dropped from 80 percent in 2008 to 65 percent this year, it is still higher than what the ministry considers a “reasonable vacancy rate,” which is between 50 percent and 55 percent.

The department said disputes on taxi-pool fares and safety concerns were two factors that tended to discourage passengers from choosing taxi-pool services.

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