Hundreds of Uber drivers rally against gov’t

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Hundreds of former Uber Taiwan drivers protested outside the Transportation Ministry Sunday to demand regulatory accommodations, following the firm’s decision to suspend operations in the face of heavy fines.

Uber suspended its operations in Taiwan on Feb. 10 after amassing NT$1.1 billion in fines for not complying with local laws.

Demonstrators, driving in cars adorned with Uber flags, surrounded the ministry building on Sunday afternoon. They complained that they had been left without a source of income for several weeks and that the government had “deprived them of the right to work.”

Uber drivers, speaking to local media, said they were trying to negotiate with the government but had yet to receive a positive response. The lack of developments on the issue was why they had gathering outside the Transportation Ministry on Sunday, the drivers said.

Protesters’ Demands The protesters called on the Transportation Ministry to consider instituting a law similar to the transportation network company or “TNC” law in the U.S., in order to accommodate services like Uber. Protesters also demanded an official response regarding the legal status of rental cars and called for the government to publish a time line for interdepartmental talks within the ministry regarding the ride-sharing service.

“Adam,” an Uber driver and one of the organizers of the rally, said that Uber drivers were “not rejecting the management of the government.”

Rather, given the differences in regulatory approaches to taxis and Ubers, Uber drivers would be willing to pay taxes and insurance if the government could introduce a special law for the company, he said.