Fri, Jun 21, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Non-traditional taxi licence exams draw over 800 hopefuls

Staff writer, with CNA

Lee Wei-er, left, an Uber driver and a spokesperson for a self-help association of drivers, holds documents on Tuesday with another Uber driver after taking a commercial driver’s license exam in Taipei.

Photo: CNA

More than 800 people in Taipei on Tuesday sat the first in a series of exams to gain a commercial driver’s license for non-traditional taxis.

About half of the people who took the exam for ride-hailing service Uber Taiwan, the local subsidiary of Uber Technologies, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said.

The exam is part of a multipurpose taxi service program initiated by the government primarily to encourage Uber and other non-traditional taxi services to adhere to regulations, the ministry said.

A multipurpose taxi service is defined as one in which the driver is not legally required to use a yellow taxi. The fares are metered, but passengers must contact the drivers via an app.

Tests are to be held through September in the six special municipalities, as well as Hsinchu City, to bring Taiwan’s approximately 10,000 Uber drivers under the banner of multipurpose taxi drivers, so they would not be in breach of amendments to the Transportation Management Regulations (汽車運輸業管理規則), the ministry said.

The amendments, which took effect on June 6, ban Uber from offering taxi services through business partnerships with local car rental operators.

After a four-month grace period that ends in October, those in breach of the rules would face fines of NT$9,000 to NT$90,000, the ministry said.

The regulations were revised after Uber was found to be offering taxi services through partnerships with rental companies, a practice that the ministry said was severely disrupting the market.

The regulations require Uber to charge customers a minimum of one hour rental, regardless of the distance.

Uber has said that the rules limit customer choice, harm competition, and deprive drivers and rental companies of business opportunities.

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