Uber-like rental car services to adopt hour, day-based rates

TAIPEI (CNA) — Rental car service providers such as ride-hailing company Uber will be required to adopt an hour or day-based fare rate to prevent them from eroding the operating space of local taxi drivers, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said on Feb. 22.

Although rental car companies currently apply a rate based on a mixture of distance and minutes, which is the same as taxis, the regulations will be amended over the next two months to create a fairer competitive environment, the ministry said.

For those charging an hour-based rate, journeys under an hour should be counted as one hour, the MOTC said, adding that rental car operators can decide how much to charge per hour. The mechanism works the same for day-based rate adopters.

However, there will also be flexibility, so that different local governments can regulate rental cars depending on their respective needs, it said.

The regulations will make clear that operators like Uber cannot pick up passengers randomly on the streets or take shifts to accommodate passengers, the MOTC said, adding that they will be required to provide all information about their cars and drivers to the authority.

Meanwhile, hail-riding platforms open to the public should also disclose full information about cars, drivers, and rates, according to the MOTC.

Local taxi unions have welcomed the new policy as better protecting their rights, and Cheng Li-chia (鄭力嘉), president of the Taipei Professional Drivers’ Union, said it will suspend a protest slated for Feb. 27.

Taxi drivers will continue to follow closely the progress of the amendment over the next two months before deciding whether to take further action, Cheng said.

By Chen Wei-ting and Lee Hsin-Yin