Court revokes Uber’s hefty fines, citing jurisdiction concerns

The Taipei High Administrative Court ruled in favor of Uber on May 9, removing a series of heavy fines that had been imposed against the ride-hailing service from 2017 to 2018. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) — The Taipei High Administrative Court ruled in favor of Uber on May 9, removing a series of heavy fines that had been imposed against the ride-hailing service from 2017 to 2018.

In the case brought by Uber against the Directorate General of Highways (DGH), the court said the DGH does not have the authority to impose fines on the company.

Such decisions are under the jurisdiction of the transport authority of Taipei, the city in which the company is registered, the court said, upholding Uber’s argument in the case.

The court, therefore, revoked the DGH’s total fines of about NT$100 million (US$3.2 million) against Uber for four violations from 2017 to 2018.

Uber was first launched in Taiwan in 2013, reportedly offering better services than local taxis and providing a more comfortable ride at lower prices.

However, because the company was initially registered in Taiwan as an information services firm, it did not have legal permission to operate transportation services, which led to protests from taxi drivers and resulted in fines from the government.

In February 2017, Uber decided to withdraw from the Taiwan market, but it returned two months later with a new business model under which it partnered with car rental companies.

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) has determined, however, that the business model works as de facto taxi services and has proposed changes that would prohibit Uber drivers from driving around looking for passengers or waiting for fares at taxi stands or in other areas.

The Taipei High Administrative Court’s ruling on Thursday can still be appealed.

By Liu Shih-yi and Lee Hsin-Yin