Members of a taxi drivers’ union yesterday protested outside the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office before filing charges against Uber Taiwan general manager Gu Li-kai (顧立楷) for violations of the Company Act (公司法), as controversy continues over how to respond to the ride-hailing app.
“We are here today because the government has disappointed us with its lack of action, and we hope that the courts can provide us and consumers with appropriate guarantees,” Taipei City Professional Drivers’ Union president Cheng Li-chia (鄭力嘉) said.
“The Ministry of Transportation and Communications says they will not allow Uber to continue operating as long as it is illegal, but it has already been four years since the firm’s entrance — what the hell are they doing?” he said, while criticizing the ministry’s plans to loosen taxi regulations to allow for “diversification.”
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
“They came up with these plans only after Uber’s entrance and have not paid much attention to our voice in discussions,” he said. “What they have repeatedly said is that they want to help us compete with Uber — but how are we supposed to compete with something that is illegal?”
Taxi drivers say that the firm’s operations violate the Highway Act (公路法), adding that tax avoidance and exemptions from insurance requirements give Uber drivers unfair advantages, leading to predatory pricing.
Cheng also condemned reports that the Executive Yuan was considering freezing a possible revocation of Uber’s investment permit by the Investment Commission as it considers legal amendments to facilitate legalization.
“If the license is not revoked before Friday next week, we will act immediately and take to the streets,” he said, adding that some drivers suggested blocking major arteries in protest.
“Our position is that Uber’s current mode of providing services is illegal. We will continue to investigate and fine the firm,” Minister of Transportation and Communications Hochen Tan (賀陳旦) said, denying the ministry’s position had changed.
Investment Commission Executive Secretary Emile Chang (張銘斌) denied that a decision has been made on whether to revoke the firm’s investment permit, saying a decision would be made next week.
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