Uber to temporarily suspend operations in Taiwan

Uber to temporarily suspend operations in Taiwan

Uber to temporarily suspend operations in Taiwan

However, Hu Ti-chi, a Taiwan transportation ministry official, said the government is willing to work with Uber to come to an agreement, possibly designating it as a transportation service provider that will collaborate with local taxi companies, according to Reuters.

The company's meal delivery service UberEats, which was launched in November past year, will continue to operate, as it is different from the ride-sharing business model, the official said.

Uber said in a statement yesterday that it was suspending its ride- hailing operations from next Friday to "reset the conversation" with the government, to "innovate the transport technology" in Taiwan. It entered the Taiwan market in 2013, and its growing popularity has triggered anger among domestic taxi drivers, who staged a massive protest against Uber past year.

Uber hopes its decision to halt its service will enable it to have a more friendly dialogue with Taiwanese authorities, she said, adding that the company is hoping to resume operations in Taiwan. Then new rules allowing much heavier penalties were introduced on January 6 and Uber was fined 231 million Taiwan dollars ($7.4 million) in just two weeks.

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Uber said that Taiwan set the highest level for such fines globally.

It is understandable that the transportation ministry must enforce the new amendment to the Highway Act that took effect January 6, increasing the fines on Uber and its drivers, the company said.

Across the world, the app has faced stiff resistance from traditional taxi drivers, as well as bans in some places, over safety concerns and questions over legal issues, including taxes.

But Taiwan authorities have pummeled the company and its drivers with hundreds of fines.

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Opposition legislator Jason Hsu, a proponent of Uber, said the government is taking the "easy way out".

The Transport Ministry yesterday said it was preparing to charge the firm NT$230 million in penalties and would issue an order to halt operations.

Under the new amendment to the Highway Act that was passed in December 2016, the maximum fine against operators of illegal transportation services has been increased from between NT$50,000 and NT$150,000 to between NT$100,000 and NT$25 million.

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