Mon, Nov 11, 2019 - Page 3 News List

No extension for Uber drivers: MOTC

FIRM DEADLINE:The MOTC is working with the police to increase the number of training sessions for Uber drivers who passed the taxi drivers’ test last month

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The grace period granted to Uber drivers before enforcement of Article No. 103-1 of the Transportation Management Regulations (汽車運輸業管理規則) next month would not be extended despite calls from the Platform Drivers Alliance for another postponement, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said.

Enforcement had been due to begin on Oct. 6, but the ministry extended the grace period until the end of this month.

The ministry issued two statements last week reiterating that the grace period would end on Nov. 30.

Under the amendment to Article 103-1, taxi and vehicle rental services are considered separate businesses, and passengers accessing the latter would have to pay an hourly or daily rate.

Although the ministry did not find Uber’s partnership with vehicle rental businesses illegal, it said that some Uber drivers had been offering taxi services under the guise of vehicle rental services, which is against regulations.

Since the ministry announced the amendment in June, more than 9,000 Uber drivers have taken the test for taxi licenses and 5,000 have passed, showing that a majority of the drivers need the job to support themselves and their families, the alliance said.

However, only 300 Uber drivers have actually become taxi drivers, because despite passing the test, 2,000 will not receive their taxi license until next month, as they have yet to finish the mandatory training sessions for taxi drivers, it said.

Most of the Uber drivers who have become legal taxi drivers under the diversified taxi program are in Taipei, but they are often given difficult time by taxi companies when they ask to join their fleets as independent contractors, alliance spokesperson Well Lee (李威爾) said.

Taxi companies have also failed to deliver their promises of making relevant information transparent to all drivers interested in joining their fleet, such as fees, the alliance said.

Some counties and cities have also not released enough taxi licenses to meet demand, it added.

The government should address these problems before the new regulation is enforced, it said.

Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said the ministry has coordinated with the National Police Agency to increase the number of training sessions available for Uber drivers who passed the taxi driver’s test last month, so they could finish the coursework by the end of this month and obtain a license.

As for the complaints about not being able to obtain taxi license plates, the ministry has changed other rules to help them meet the requirements in the regulation, including allowing them to join taxi companies’ fleet, he said.

Those who have yet to qualify as a taxi driver can still work as a driver in the vehicle rental business and charge by the hour or by the day, the ministry said.

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