Undaunted by the penalties issued by the government, application-based taxi service provider Uber yesterday accused the Ministry of Transportation and Communications of blocking the development of Taipei by continuing to govern through what it called outdated thinking, and encouraged netizens to pledge their support for the new service.
Uber Taiwan general manager Gu Li-kai (顧立楷) issued a statement which said that the application attracted more than 100,000 users nationwide, adding that more than 1,000 drivers have become partners with Uber.
Gu said the service had enabled these drivers to raise their incomes by up to 50 percent. He cited the story of a driver surnamed Lin (林), who he said was able to buy his son a Lego building set for Christmas this year due to his extra income from Uber.
“Unfortunately, the ministry continues to fine Uber drivers and even revoke their driver’s licenses… The ministry encourages people to report drivers working for Uber, disregarding the public’s right to choose and diminishing the income of Uber drivers,” he said.
Gu said Uber has gained support from many experts and lawmakers, citing statements made by Feng Chia University Department of Transportation Technology and Management associate professor Lee Ker-tsung (李克聰) and former Google China president Lee Kai-fu (李開復).
Lee Ker-tsung was reported as saying that the ministry should consider incorporating Uber in its regulatory system instead of continuing to punish the operator.
Lee Kai-fu said on his Facebook page that the government is using outdated laws to chase away new technology, and likened the ministry’s mentality to that of an ostrich, salvaging the old taxi service at the expense of missing out on the high-tech revolution.
Gu said the company looks forward to communicating with Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) as well as other government officials and lawmakers.
Statistics from the Directorate General of Highways showed that, as of Saturday last week, Uber had been fined NT$5.85 million (US$184,200) for repeated violations of government regulations.
Meanwhile, drivers getting assignments from Uber had received fines of more than NT$2.95 million in total.
Ministry official Hu Ti-chi (胡迪琦) said that the ministry has never rejected any new technology, adding that it has advised Uber to follow government regulations by registering as a taxi business operator, or to form partnerships with legal rental car service operators.
“By registering as an information service operator, Uber can bypass requirements set to regulate taxicab businesses,” Hu said, adding that Uber can avoid paying taxes by having its headquarters located overseas.
However, Hu said that consumers would be exposed to risks if they use taxi services offered by Uber.
“Uber does not have formal employment relationships with the drivers getting assignments from it. It can easily pass the buck if something happens to a passenger,” she said. “The credit card payments are processed online via an offshore company registered in the Netherlands, and consumers would be doing this at the risk of having their credit card information stolen.”
TOO TIRED: Investigators found that the pilot’s lack of alertness could be attributed to a lack of sleep the previous night, when he had slept with his child It was a copilot’s inappropriate operation of the aircraft and the pilot’s insufficient alertness that led to a hard landing of a China Airlines cargo flight on Dec. 13, 2018, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said yesterday. Flight CI6844, a Boeing 747-409 which departed from Hong Kong International Airport, landed on the pre-threshold area of runway L5 at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, about 21m before the head of the runway, an investigation report said. The hard landing damaged three runway lights, but none of the personnel on board sustained any injuries, the report said. When approaching the runway, the copilot failed to maintain
DISTRUST WARRANTED? The WHO is under China’s control and has become a useless organization, while data from China cannot be trusted, a Control Yuan member said China’s demand that the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, Hubei Province, not be referred to with names like the “Wuhan pneumonia” betrays its lack of confidence in itself, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told lawmakers yesterday. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘) asked Su, during a interpellation at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, for his view on China’s attempts to redeem its national image in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. These included China’s efforts to “bleach” its image, including having WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus publicly praise its handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, and thanking it for buying time
Taipei residents who stay at hotels in the city during their 14-day mandatory quarantine period are eligible to apply for the city’s NT$7,000 subsidy, with online applications to be launched next week. Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) on Monday said Taipei residents who have COVID-19 Health Declaration and Home Quarantine Notice dated after March 19 and a quarantine hotel receipt for the dates covered by the quarantine period, would be eligible for the subsidy. The Taipei City Government on Sunday told the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) that so many city residents are under home quarantine that about 90 percent of
REPEAT OFFENDER: The man went outside for exercise on Wednesday and then left his home on Saturday with his girlfriend, officials said A New Taipei City man has been fined NT$400,000 (US$13,221) and ordered into government quarantine after breaking home quarantine for a second time on Saturday. The 25-year-old man, surnamed Chen (陳) returned to Taiwan on Sunday last week and was ordered to home quarantine until Sunday. He was seen leaving his home on a scooter with his girlfriend on Saturday, three days after he was fined NT$200,000 for going outside to exercise, police said. Chen has now been placed in a quarantine center arranged by the district office and health center of the district where he lives, police said. Police warned the public