Standoff grinds on between Uber, Taiwan

The San Francisco company said in a blog post that its service will be “paused” from February 10, and that it hoped it could “reset the conversation”.
The island’s law makers passed a resolution a year ago that targets Uber and illegal passenger transportation services transportation companies by raising the maximum fine up to T$25 million ($780,000) from between NT$50,000 and NT$150,000, which Uber says are the highest in the world. Its food delivery service, UberEATS, was also fined NT$180 million ($5.8 million) for breaching transport and safety regulations. Uber has paid T$68.25 million to date, the ministry said.”We have not made this decision lightly, as we know it will have a significant impact on hundreds of thousands of drivers and riders”, Uber said in a statement that criticized the Taiwan government for failing to embrace innovation.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.The announcement came after Taiwan’s government slapped Uber with 48 fines amounting to 1.1 billion Taiwanese dollars (around $34million) since January 6, when an amendment to the Highway Act came into effect.Uber announced yesterday it is halting operations in Taiwan, saying it is at an “impasse” with authorities who deem the ride-hailing app illegal.

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The taxi service based on technologies have experienced resistance from various parts of the world.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.Uber said it is not a transport company like taxi companies, and that it is simply a platform connecting drivers and passengers.However, KMT lawmaker Hsu Yu-jen (許毓仁) said in a Facebook post that imposing heavy fines on Uber did not help to solve the problem or make the transportation industry better.Hu said if Uber is not regulated as a transportation company, it can be regulated as a transportation service provider and collaborate with local taxi companies.In Japan, which bars non-professional drivers from offering taxi services, it was blocked by authorities from setting up in two cities while it also faced opposition from established taxi operators.