Uber faces ban for operating “illegal” service
Ride-hailing service Uber could be banned in Taiwan after authorities accused it of operating illegally, with officials saying a final decision will be handed down next week.
It is the latest setback for the US company, after it was forced to suspend its operations in Hungary last month and was fined in June for operating illegally in France.
Uber entered the Taiwan market in 2013 and the company and drivers together have already been fined a total of T$65 million (US$2.05 million), according to the transport ministry.
Angry cab drivers surrounded the parliament in Taipei last month, demanding the government kick Uber out, echoing similar protests in several other countries.
Authorities say Uber does not have the proper registration to operate as a taxi service.
“They [Uber] are registered as an information services provider, but what they’re doing is actually transportation,” said Lin Kuo-hsien, a ministry spokesperson.
That leaves consumers unprotected, Mr Lin said, adding that some Uber drivers have already had their individual licences suspended and are subject to fines of T$50,000.
Taiwan’s investment commission, which screens and approves foreign and outward investments, said it would decide on Uber’s case by Aug 11.
“From a preliminary assessment, it is possible” Uber will be banned, Emile Chang, executive secretary of the commission, told AFP. The US start-up has expanded to more than 50 countries and is worth some $50 billion, but has faced multiple legal challenges and protests from taxi drivers who feel they are being forced out of the market. –