Taipei-Ride-hailing service Uber announced Friday a decision to expand cooperation with taxi fleets, car rental companies and the transportation authorities in Taiwan in order to change its operating model to avoid violating a law revision dubbed "Uber Clause."
The U.S.-based company promised in a statement that it will keep all the popular Uber App features and functions while expanding cooperation with the so-called diversified taxi fleets and car rental operators.
It will also work with the government by applying Uber technology in various transportation services, including yellow cabs, rental cars and designated drivers, Uber said two days before punishments on "Uber Clause" violations begin to be implemented Dec. 1.
Uber has triggered massive protests over the past few years by local taxi drivers complaining about drivers using the ride-hailing app who are not licensed taxi drivers.
Because of the protests, Uber began collaborating with car rental operators in an attempt to continue its operations in Taiwan, but this collaboration has failed to smooth over the controversy.
Eventually, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications decided to amend transportation management rules to ban Uber from offering taxi services through business partnerships with local car rental operators.
Article 103-1 of the Regulations for Automobile Transportation Operators, dubbed "Uber Clause," was promulgated June 6, with a grace period for Uber drivers to acquire the required business and professional driving license to continue their business under the government's Multi-Purpose Taxi scheme.
The deadline of the grace period, originally set for Oct. 6, was postponed to Dec. 1, when violators will be subject to fines of up to NT$90,000 (US$2,949).
Despite opposing the revised law, Uber has pledged to adopt a new operating model by working with the taxi industry and serving as a technology platform under the Multi-Purpose Taxi scheme, which allows app-based metering, upfront pricing and flexible vehicle appearances rather than the standard yellow of Taiwanese taxis.
According to data from the Uber drivers self-help association, there were around 12,000 Uber drivers in Taiwan before the "Uber Clause" became effective.
While some 1,000 drivers were unwilling to work under the Multi-Purpose Taxi scheme, 7,000 to 8,000 drivers have obtained the required taxi service operation permits.
Among them, however, 4,000 to 5,000 have not yet received their taxi license plate due to slow motor vehicle office operations, leaving them unable to begin offering their services, according to Uber.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel