Taipei, Dec. 8 (CNA) The Taipei High Administrative Court ruled in favor of Uber on Saturday, giving the ride-hailing service the right to operate again in Taiwan and removing a series of heavy fines that were imposed on the company previously.
In the case brought by Uber against the Directorate General of Highways (DGH), the court said the DGH does not have the authority to impose fines on the company or to stop its operations in Taiwan.
Such decisions are under the jurisdiction of the transport authority of Taipei, the city in which the company is registered, the court said, upholding Uber's argument in the case.
The court therefore revoked the DGH's fines of more that NT$30 million (US$970,000) in total against Uber and the order for the company to cease operations in Taiwan.
In the period September 2014 to February 2017, Uber and its 233 drivers were hit with a series of fines for violations of Taiwan's Highway Act, which bans unlicensed operators of transportation services.
The DGH sought a court order to collect the fines, which ranged from NT$50,000 to NT$150,000, and demanded a shutdown of Uber's business.
In February 2017, Uber decided to withdraw from the Taiwan market, but it returned two months later with a new business model under which it partnered with car rental companies to provide taxi services.
Under the new arrangement, Uber was no longer hiring vehicle owners directly to provide ride hailing service but rather was employing drivers to operate cars registered to rental companies.
Uber argued that its revised business model was in line with Article 100 of the Transportation Management Regulations, which allows car rental companies to hire drivers to provide taxi services.
Before Uber came up with the new business model, it was penalized by Taiwan authorities for operating a transportation service while being registered in the country as an information services firm.
The case that it won in the Taipei High Administrative Court on Saturday can still be appealed.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel