The Ministry of Transportation and Communications has announced that, starting next year, drivers of old taxis will receive a subsidy of NT$115,000 (US$3,950) if they phase their cars out and replace them with hybrid vehicles.
The new subsidy follows other incentives recently offered to taxi drivers to upgrade their vehicles.
The ministry began offering a subsidy of NT$30,000 last year to replace 14-year-old taxi cabs with new ones.
That grant was raised to NT$40,000 this year and its scope could be expanded to include seven-year-old taxis and up.
“The new subsidy is part of the ministry’s effort to continue to improve taxi drivers’ operating environment and upgrade the quality of their service,” the ministry said.
The ministry added that with continued hikes in gasoline prices, taxi drivers could halve their gas consumption by shifting to a gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle and save about NT$6,500 per month.
Because hybrids are more expensive than similar-sized gasoline-powered cars, the ministry decided to offer a higher subsidy to taxi drivers who opt to replace older vehicles with hybrids.
The ministry estimates there are more than 80,000 taxi cabs in Taiwan, 50,000 of which are in Taipei.
Meanwhile, to promote barrier-free transportation options, the ministry also announced a NT$400,000 subsidy for taxi drivers who provide barrier-free services.
Many local governments currently provide minibuses for the elderly, pregnant women and people in wheelchairs, but due to the limited number of such buses, the ministry is encouraging taxi drivers to also provide barrier-free services.
The service is expected to start in the first quarter of next year at the earliest.