Despite strong opposition from Uber Technologies and its drivers, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications yesterday said that it would early next month announce the final version of an amendment to Article No. 130-1 of the Transportation Management Regulations (汽車運輸業管理規則) once it has been approved at a weekly ministerial meeting on Friday.
The article, which has been dubbed the “Uber clause,” defines vehicle rental services and taxis as different businesses that are subject to separate regulations, and that the former would have to charge passengers by hourly or daily rates.
The ministry had proposed amending the regulations after Uber was found to use its partnership with a vehicle rental business to engage in taxi services, which the ministry said would disrupt the order of the market.
Photo: Hsiao Yu-hsin, Taipei Times
The amendment, which was announced on Feb. 21, has already gone through a 60-day consultation period, which ended on April 26.
The amendment passed a review by the ministry’s legal affairs committee on Friday last week, Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.
The ministry said it would give Uber and its drivers a four-month transitional period to meet the requirements in the amendment before it would implement fines of between NT$9,000 and NT$90,000 for those contravening the regulations from October, it said.
Knowing that Uber drivers are scheduled to protest at the Executive Yuan today, Wang said that the ministry hosted the news conference to show its unwavering determination to enforce the law.
“We want to tell Uber that it should not harbor any expectation that the ministry would change its position on the issue. The company has been given a way to lead its drivers to the right path. If it wants to continue operating in Taiwan, then it should apply to become a taxi business operator,” Wang said.
To become a taxi business operator in the nation, one needs to have a minimum of NT$5 million in capital and purchase insurance for passengers, which should not be difficult for a company such as Uber, he said, adding that Uber drivers can continue offering a high-quality taxi service if they become legal taxi drivers.
Uber could also become a legal operator by joining the nation’s diversified taxi service program, Department of Railways and Highways Director-General Chen Wen-ruey (陳文瑞) said.
Uber can still work with vehicle rental operators, but it would have to adhere to the amended Article 103-1 in the Transportation Management Regulations, he said.
The National Police Agency has agreed to hold 37 taxi registration certificate exams between next month and September for Uber drivers interested in becoming legal taxi drivers, Chen said.
Both the Taxi Business Association of the Republic of China and various taxi service operators have pledged to set up telephone lines to assist Uber drivers in joining taxi companies, he added.
Chen also said that the ministry would reduce the administration fee of about NT$1,250 for Uber drivers seeking to join the diversified taxi service program.
Directorate-General of Highways Director-General Chen Yen-po (陳彥伯) said that vehicle rental operators working with Uber and other platforms would be asked to provide their business plans, adding that the business plan should include the number of vehicles in their fleet and the vehicles’ license numbers.
UNDER WATCH: Taiwan will have to establish a standardized nucleic acid testing method to identify the virus and monitor its spread, the CDC said The Langya henipavirus, which can be transmitted from animals to humans, has been discovered in China, with 35 human infections reported so far, Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said, adding that the nation would establish a nucleic acid testing method to identify the virus. A study titled “A Zoonotic Henipavirus in Febrile Patients in China” that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday said that a new henipavirus associated with a fever-causing human illness was identified in China. The study said an investigation identified 35 patients with acute infection of the Langya henipavirus in China’s Shandong
MISSILE PATHS: Certain information on the Chinese missile fire was not disclosed to maintain secrecy over military intelligence-gathering capabilities, the MND said Military experts yesterday speculated on the implication of the government’s tight-lipped response and the lack of air-raid sirens during the first day of China’s military drills the previous day. On Thursday, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) launched 11 Dongfeng-series ballistic missiles into waters north, east and south of Taiwan, a day after US House of Representative Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s departure from the country, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said. The Japanese Ministry of Defense said that China fired nine missiles toward Taiwan, including four that flew over Taiwan proper. However, China’s exhibition of force failed to terrorize the local populace, because
If any war were to break out between the US and China, one trigger might be the increasingly frequent fighter jet encounters near Taiwan. Almost every day, Taiwanese fighter pilots hop in their US-made F-16s to intercept Chinese warplanes screaming past their territory. The encounters probe the nation’s defenses and force the pilots on both sides to avoid mistakes that could lead to a crisis that spins out of control. “I didn’t know whether they would fire at me,” said retired colonel Mountain Wang, recounting a tense five-minute confrontation he had with Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) jets more than a decade
INCREASINGLY EMBOLDENED: China can no longer be dismissed as inexperienced, demonstrating an ability to coordinate land and sea missile systems, an expert said Beijing’s largest-ever exercises around Taiwan have offered essential clues into its plans for a grueling blockade in the event of an attack on Taiwan, and revealed an increasingly emboldened Chinese military, experts said. The visit to Taiwan by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi — second in line to the presidency — sparked outrage from Beijing, which launched vast military maneuvers around the nation, even at the risk of partially exposing its plans to the US and its Asian allies. Mobilizing fighter planes, helicopters and warships, the drills aim to simulate a blockade of Taiwan and include practicing an “attack on