Fri, May 19, 2017 - Page 3 News List

MRT authorities criticized for banning goods deliveries

By Huang Hsin-po and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Online merchants and lawyers have criticized mass rapid transit (MRT) companies for imposing fines on people who deliver or pick up merchandise at metro stations, with lawyers saying the corporations are overreaching their authority.

For many Web shops and online sales platforms, MRT stations are convenient delivery and pickup locations.

Ruten.com.tw, a sales platform, says that more than 2,000 items sold on its site could be picked up from their vendors at MRT stations.

However, many of the nation’s MRT aurhorities, including Taipei Rapid Transit Corp, believe the Mass Rapid Transit Act (大眾捷運法) gives them the authority to fine people making deliveries on station grounds up to NT$7,500.

An online vendor surnamed Hu (胡) said MRT stations are easy to reach and public, making them safe and convenient locations for women and office workers to deliver or receive goods.

Because of this, she prefers making deliveries of her wares to customers at metro stations, as long as the transaction is not likely to cause disruption, Hu said.

An e-commerce worker surnamed Chen (陳) said her friends and colleagues had frequently been stopped by MRT staff from delivering or picking up products.

Chen deals with the problem by making the exchange at locations that workers cannot observe and reminding customers who pay in cash to conceal the money in envelopes, she said.

“These deliveries usually have little to no impact on passengers, so I am puzzled that they feel they need to restrict us,” Chen said.

Attorney Chou Wu-jung (周武榮) said MRT authorities believe Article 50 of the Mass Rapid Transit Act empowers them to prohibit pickup of goods on station properties, but their reading of the law was flawed.

The act’s ban on “conducting other commercial activities within carriages or stations without permission” does not apply to merchandise delivery or pickup, because from a legal perspective such actions take place after the completion of commercial activities, he said.

The ban should be read as forbidding unsanctioned fundraising and advertising activities, because the law’s intent was to prevent the prolonged use of carriage and station space, he said.

Proscribing all activities that affect other passengers did not make legal sense because in that case, MRT authorities should be fining passengers for kissing, holding hands or loitering, Chou said.

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