More than 50 truck drivers from Ilan County protested outside the Legislative Yuan yesterday morning, asking the government to exempt them from paying fuel and license plate taxes.
They said the continual rise in gasoline prices had caused their operational costs to jump as much as 60 percent, making it difficult for them to survive.
They warned that if the government did nothing to alleviate their plight, they would mobilize thousands of trucks to protest in the city.
Commenting on the truck drivers’ protest, the Truck Cargo Transportation Association said yesterday it respected the right of each member to appeal as they also have the right to speak for themselves.
The association said it had already sent an official application to the Directorate General of Highways (DGH) last week asking for an increase in the base charge for transportation in response to rising gasoline prices.
The association asked for a rate increase from NT$7.19 per tonne-km to NT$7.82 per tonne-km, or an increase of 8.8 percent.
The association said, however, that it had decided to temporarily withdraw the application as the Executive Yuan is scheduled to increase retail gasoline prices again next Tuesday, and the base transportation charge would have to be recalculated.
Nonetheless, the association had stated in its application the urgency of raising the base charge. It said that the DGH last year allowed cargo truck service operators to raise their base charge when retail diesel prices exceeded NT$27.23 per liter.
The diesel price has already risen to NT$31.9 per liter, the association said.
Earlier this month, the association also asked for government subsidies on fuel, as it argued that cargo truck transportation should also be categorized as public transportation service.
DHG Director-General James Chen (陳晉源) said that current regulations on tax breaks and subsidies do not apply to trucking services.
“But they are entitled to raise their charges, and the review process should be completed really quickly,” he said.
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