Uber expresses disappointment with MOTC’s new proposal

TAIPEI (CNA) – Uber said Saturday it was disappointed with a proposal by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) that would require rental car companies that work with Uber to provide transportation services to adopt hourly or day-based fare rates.

The MOTC made the announcement on Thursday and said the proposal was necessary to counter the growing use of the rental car service as a taxi service, which has eroded the operating space of local taxi drivers.

In a statement issued Saturday, Uber said it will closely follow the progress of the proposed amendment and the impact it has on the overall industry and Uber’s operations in Taiwan.

Uber will also work with relevant government agencies to come up with a solution that benefits passengers, rental car drivers and ride-hailing businesses, the statement said.

Rental car company drivers who work with Uber currently apply a rate based on a mixture of distance and minutes, similar to that used by taxis, but the rules will be amended over the next two months to create a fairer competitive environment, the ministry said.

Based on the MOTC’s initial proposal, rental car drivers working with Uber would be prohibited from driving around looking for passengers or scheduling shifts to accommodate customers calling for a ride. It also would require fares to be charged by the hour or the day.

While local taxi unions welcomed the new policy, Wang Shi-Chang (王世璋), chairman of the Taipei Passenger Car Rental Association, said Friday that the MOTC’s proposed amendment favored taxi drivers and warned that the association would mobilize 170,000 rental cars to take to the streets in protest if the amendment was not withdrawn.

Wang said rental car drivers in Taiwan cooperated with Uber based on Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) regulations last year, and a sudden change in the rules would hurt Taiwan’s rental car market, potentially affecting 100,000 families.

The MOTC said the public will have two months to offer opinions on the proposed revision before it is drafted.

By Wu Chia-hao and Chung Yu-chen