The Directorate-General of Highways (DGH) yesterday said that it would file an appeal against the Taipei High Administrative Court’s ruling that waived a NT$100 million (US$3.23 million) fine for Uber Taiwan.
“We respect the decision made by the Taipei High Administrative Court. We will study the court’s ruling with our legal consultants and appeal the case at the Supreme Administrative Court,” the highway authority said.
The Taipei High Administrative Court said that an investigation by DGH’s Taipei City Motor Vehicle Office in 2017 found that Uber Taiwan had used its mobile phone application to dispatch vehicles to carry passengers requesting the car transport service.
Passengers paid their fares with credit cards, which Uber and its drivers split, the court said.
As Uber Taiwan used an online platform to offer transport for commercial gain without the DGH’s approval, the nation’s highway authority fined Uber Taiwan NT$100 million for four contraventions of Article No. 77 in the Highway Act (公路法) — three in Taipei and one in Taichung — and ordered it to cease businesses immediately.
Uber filed a lawsuit appealing the penalty.
It argued that it did not operate a taxi business and its application functions similarly to PChome Online, Yahoo and other Internet platforms.
The company cited the act, saying that fines for taxis operating in Taipei — one of the special municipalities — should be issued by the road authority in Taipei, not the DGH.
The Taipei High Administrative Court ruled that Uber had clearly breached the act by operating a taxi business in Taipei without first seeking approval from the Taipei City Government.
However, the court said that the penalty would only be legal if it were issued by the Taipei City Government’s road authority, as the DGH has no authority over taxis operating in Taipei.
The court then waived the fine.
Uber has accumulated NT$2.456 billion in fines since Jan. 4, 2017, when the fine for illegal taxi operators was raised to NT$25 million per contravention.
So far, Uber has paid none of them.
Prior to the amendment to the act on Jan. 4, 2017, Uber had accumulated fines of NT$85.5 million, of which it had paid NT$65.46 million.
The DGH said that it has asked the Ministry of Justice’s Administrative Enforcement Agency to collect the unpaid fines from Uber.
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