MOEA, trans­port min­is­ter dis­agree over Uber

The China Post - - LOCAL -

The Min­istry of Eco­nomic Af­fairs (MOEA) has ex­pressed sup­port for the con­tro­ver­sial car-hire ser­vice Uber, but the trans­port min­is­ter has de­scribed it as un­fair com­pe­ti­tion.

The MOEA has pro­posed an econ­omy-boost­ing plan lever­ag­ing on smart tech­nol­ogy, a part of which will sup­port the kind of carhire ser­vice pro­vided by Uber.

Kan Wei-chi, an of­fi­cial from a MOEA re­search and de­vel­op­ment unit, said the gov­ern­ment’s pro­mo­tion of smart-city poli­cies must be sup­ported by le­gal changes that keep up with ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy.

Kan said some cities have banned Uber out of safety con­cerns. But in a shar­ing econ­omy, the law must be changed along with the de­vel­op­ment of tech­no­log­i­cal ap­pli­ca­tions, the of­fi­cial said.

Kan said that the Trans­port Min­istry is in charge of deal­ing with Uber, and she is not cer­tain about the progress in the trans­porta­tion author­i­ties’ in­ter­nal dis­cus­sion con­cern­ing sim­i­lar car-hire oper­a­tions.

Uber ser­vices have been banned in many cities and protested by taxi com­pa­nies ac­cus­ing them of run­ning illegal oper­a­tions.

Trans­port Min­is­ter Chen Jianyu said the in­tro­duc­tion of Uber is ben­e­fi­cial to a coun­try in terms of tech­nol­ogy, but due to safety con- cerns, more and more coun­tries are ban­ning the ser­vice.

Chen said his min­istry can­not turn a blind eye to un­li­censed carhire ser­vice providers’ un­fair com­pe­ti­tion against taxi and car rental firms that have to ob­tain per­mits.

Uber has ob­tained a com­mer­cial reg­is­tra­tion for in­for­ma­tion ser­vices, but its ac­tual op­er­a­tion is to help par­tic­i­pat­ing cars run illegal taxi ser­vices, Chen said.

The Trans­port Min­istry has so far meted out fines to­tal­ing NT$37 mil­lion for Uber since last Septem­ber, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­tral News Agency.

The Trans­port Min­istry has re­jected Uber’s nu­mer­ous ap­peals against the fines. Uber has now filed a law­suit with an ad­min­is­tra­tive court seek­ing to over­turn the min­istry’s de­ci­sion, the CNA said.

Tai­wanTaxi, one of the ma­jor taxi firms in Taipei, said Uber is ma­nip­u­lat­ing a le­gal loop­hole, which of­fers no pro­tec­tion for con­sumers.

In con­trast to reg­u­lar taxis whose driv­ers have to ob­tain li­censes and whose fares are stan­dard­ized, Uber al­lows any pri­vate cars to join its ser­vice net­work, which is clearly illegal, Tai­wanTaxi said.

Tai­wanTaxi said it wel­comes in­no­va­tive busi­ness mod­els, but com­pe­ti­tion must oc­cur within the lim­its set out by law.

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