Government Promoting Pre-Booking Taxis to Challenge Uber Taiwan

Government Promoting Pre-Booking Taxis to Challenge Uber Taiwan
Photo Credit: Corbis/達志影像
What you need to know

According to the new taxi regulations drafted by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, pre-booking taxis will soon be allowed. The color of these taxis also does not have to be yellow, and they can charge more than normal taxis.

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The scene of yellow cabs rolling through the streets might not be seen in Taiwan any longer.

According to the new taxi regulations drafted by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MTC), pre-booking taxis will soon be allowed. The color of these taxis also does not have to be yellow, and they can charge more than normal taxis. However, pre-booking taxis can’t pick up customers on the streets and vehicle age requirements will also be strict. The new regulations will be implemented as soon as this May.

According to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the new measures were established because of the impact brought by the emerging taxi service, Uber.

The new regulations divide taxicabs into two kinds, normal and pre-booking. Normal taxis can only still be painted yellow, while the pre-booking taxis can be painted any color. Moreover, the signs can be taken off the top of the vehicles so the pre-booking taxis will look just like normal cars.

Liberty Times reports, Wang Mu-heng, the deputy director of the Department of Railways and Highways, says that the new regulations adopt Uber’s business model as a mean to urge Uber Taiwan to abide the laws and file taxes. Other officials say that if Uber Taiwan continues to operate its business illegally, the government will take legal action.

Wang says that the new regulations also ease the pricing standard for pre-booking taxis. If you are a taxi driver in Taipei City, you can charge the starting price twice more than the current fare from NT$80 to NT$150 (approximately US$2.43 to US$ 4.56). The gap between peak and off-peak hours is allowed and high-class taxis can offer service to tourist attractions and remote areas, where most of the taxi drivers are currently reluctant to go.

CNA reports, Liang Ping-liang, the director of the taxi association, says that small taxi services are unable to build an operating application system like Uber. Liang suggests the government to establish a unified taxi matchmaking network and help all taxicab service providers use the application platform so the new regulations can not only benefit the large taxi service providers.

A commuter, Huang, says that traditional taxis in Taiwan are already associated with negative impressions like overtaking other cars and randomly stopping on the road to pick up passengers, so people turn to Uber for better service quality.

“Merely painting the taxis other colors is useless. The taxi drivers should think about how to improve their service quality as well," Huang says.

Liberty Times reports, Feng Chia University Department of Transportation Technology and Management Associate Professor Lee Ker-tsung (李克聰) says Uber cannot be eradicated because it offers consumers access to multiple services and provides a chance for people to supplement their income through a sharing economy, which is a current global trend.

Translated by June
Edited by Olivia Yang

Sources:

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