Taipei taxis are allowed to double as meal and cargo delivery vehicles during level 2, 3 or 4 COVID-19 alerts, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said on Thursday.
However, taxi drivers would have to follow industry accepted pricing and not use cab meter rates, he said.
The announcement came after Taipei Professional Drivers’ Union president Cheng Li-chia (鄭力嘉) said that Taipei should find ways to help taxi drivers deal with fewer passengers amid the level 3 alert started last month, citing the Kaohsiung City Government’s move to allow taxi drivers to deliver meals for restaurants.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
Taipei City Dynamic Taxi Industry Union president Hu Wei-cheng (胡偉成) welcomed Ko’s announcement, but said that the city government should consider allowing taxis making deliveries to be considered as cargo vehicles, which would allow them to park in delivery and loading zones.
New Taipei City Department of Transportation Director Chung Ming-shih (鍾鳴時) yesterday said that the city was also allowing taxis to deliver meals and cargo during the pandemic, effective yesterday.
This would facilitate transportation for the logistics industry, give taxi drivers an additional source of income and help stores sell goods through online platforms, Chung said.
Photo: Wang Shu-hsiu, Taipei Time
Some taxi drivers have chosen to stop working during the pandemic, but many say they cannot, as they have to support their families.
“There are just no people around, even if we drive around for 10 hours a day,” a driver said.
Cheng on Tuesday said that some union members told him that they only managed to pick up a passenger after five or six hours on the job, and the fares — sometimes little more than NT$100 — were not enough to cover fuel costs.
Taxi drivers did not receive fuel stipends this year, Cheng said, adding that even if there were stipends, many drivers would rather rely on their earnings than government subsidies.
Taiwan has been on a nationwide level 3 alert since May 19, which has been extended to June 28.
Additional reporting by Ho Yu-hua
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