The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) yesterday said it would subsidize taxi drivers whose vehicles have been in operation for more than 14 years to help them purchase new cars, provided the drivers receive service improvement training offered at motor vehicle offices nationwide.
The program marks the first time the government is subsidizing the replacement of old taxicabs.
Chen Yen-po (陳彥伯), director-general of the Department of Railways and Highways, said the ministry had invested heavily in the development of public transportation systems in the past two years, including assisting bus operators to purchase low-floor buses and subsidizing the operations of bus service routes in remote areas. It had also decided to include taxis — a para-transit service — as part of the public transportation network.
Taxis carry approximately 796 million passengers per year, accounting for about 30 percent of the public transportation volume, Chen said. However, about 30 percent of taxicabs have been in operation for more than 10 years.
“The old cars may not be as fuel-efficient as new ones and may generate more pollution,” he said. “Some passengers also avoid old cabs, which reduces drivers’ revenue.”
Chen said the program would provide a fixed amount of NT$30,000 for taxi drivers planning to replace their old cars through a bank loan, regardless of the type of vehicle they plan to purchase. Independent taxi drivers or members of taxi service companies can both apply for the subsidy.
Those who qualify for the subsidy can apply at motor vehicle offices nationwide starting tomorrow through Jan. 10, after receiving an official notice from the Directorate-General of Highways.
As the number of subsidy recipients is capped at 5,000 taxi drivers per year, the agency will hold a drawing if there are more than 5,000 applicants.
To complete the application, drivers mustfor a bank loan, the invoice for a car purchase and a certificate showing that they have completed a two-day training course at motor vehicle offices.
Taiwan has about 86,000 taxis in operation, ministry data showed. More than 24,000 have been in operation for more than 10 years, including 8,000 that have been in operation for more than 14 years.