Fri, May 12, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Taxi firm launches deluxe service to counter Uber

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Taxi Co taxi drivers yesterday pose next to the company’s luxury cars in Taipei.

Photo: CNA, provided by Taiwan Taxi Co

Taiwan Taxi Co, the nation’s largest taxi company, yesterday launched the trial of its deluxe taxi service, allowing passengers to ride luxury cars for rates slightly higher than that of regular taxis.

The service is in response to the government’s “diversified taxi program,” which was implemented to help taxi operators change their business models to compete with the Uber ride-hailing app, Taiwan Taxi said.

Taipei-based Crown Taxi and several other companies in the nation’s south have also launched diversified services in accordance with the program.

The diversified services are different from regular taxi services in that people requesting them must make reservations through mobile applications, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said.

Taxis providing diversified services must be painted a different color to distinguish them from regular taxis, it said, adding that diversified taxis are not allowed to pick up passengers on the street or use taxi ranks.

When requesting diversified services, passengers would be able to see the license number of the car they are to ride in, as well its make and model, the ministry said, adding that passengers would also see the driver’s license information and their performance evaluation based on reviews from other passengers, and estimated fares.

Companies offering diversified taxi services cannot set the fares lower than those of regular taxis, it added.

The deluxe taxi service offered by Taiwan Taxi is to allow passengers ride in luxury brand cars such as Mercedes Benz and BMW.

Passengers can also request a nine-seat van or a regular sedan.

Except for two BMWs, which are owned by Taiwan Taxi and leased to the drivers, all the cars in the deluxe taxi service are owned by the drivers, Taiwan Taxi said.

The company said that 30 drivers they have recruited for the diversified service are all licensed taxi drivers who have passed the company’s written aptitude test and have received etiquette training.

The drivers are from various professional backgrounds, including a retired police officer, a tour guide, a fashion designer and a sales executive with a foreign company, Taiwan Taxi said.

The starting fare for the deluxe taxi service is NT$70, the same as regular taxi services, the company said.

Passengers riding luxury cars would be charged NT$8 per 200m during off-peak hours, while those riding vans or sedans would be charged NT$7 and NT$5 per 200m respectively, Taiwan Taxi said.

The rates would be raised to NT$10 per 200m for luxury cars, NT$8 per 200m for vans and NT$6 per 200m for regular sedans during peak hours, it added.

Regular taxi passengers are charged NT$5 per 200m.

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