Didi Chuxing suspends ride sharing in Taiwan

DRAWING A LINE::The DGH said that drivers offering ride-sharing services are considered a taxi business if they carry passengers more than two times in a day

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Apr 16, 2018 - Page 3

Chinese ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing has suspended its ride-sharing service in Taiwan after being fined NT$181 million (US$6.18 million) by the Directorate-General of Highways (DGH) for breaching the Highway Act (公路法).

The company in February introduced two types of service in Taiwan: One offered legal taxi drivers a taxi-hailing platform, while the other recruited unlicensed cab drivers for a ride-sharing service.

The DGH said it deemed Didi’s ride-sharing service to be illegal, because passengers sharing the ride not only had to pay for gasoline and toll fees, but also costs related to the depreciation of the vehicle.

Ride sharing is allowed for commuters as well as for travelers, but legally, the vehicle used must not carry passengers more than two times per day, the highway authority said, adding that ride-sharing passengers only need to pay for the gasoline and freeway toll fees and must not be asked pay costs related to the depreciation of the vehicle.

Drivers offering ride-sharing services would be considered to be taxi business operators if they carry passengers more than two times per day, therefore making Didi an illegal taxi service, the DGH said.

The DGH on March 22 issued nine tickets totaling NT$181 million to LEDI Technology Co, Didi’s authorized franchisee in Taiwan, the DGH said.

The Legislative Yuan last year passed an amendment to the Highway Act, which raised the fines for illegal taxi operators from NT$100,000 to NT$25 million.

The amendment was proposed following repeated breaches of the act by Uber, which was also deemed an illegal taxi operator.

“We have chosen to represent the world’s largest transportation platform with the intention of making the taxi business run more efficiently and offering better service to members of the public,” LEDI said, adding that it has received encouragement from many taxi drivers, passengers and ride-sharing drivers in the past few months.

“The value of ride sharing in Taiwan has been questioned by many as it has been abused by some who have turned it into an illegal business. It was never our intention to subvert the existing taxi industry.” LEDI said. “To avoid confusion for our ride-sharing service users, we will suspend our service starting from 6pm on Friday while we communicate with the administrative authority.”

LEDI has received the fines from the DGH and is preparing to present its case on the alleged violations, the company said, adding that it would resume its ride-sharing service after all legal issues have been resolved.