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Uber calls for withdrawal of new proposal for rental car industry

2019/03/07 20:47:28

Uber Taiwan General Manager Willy Wu (吳罡)

Taipei, March 7 (CNA) Ride-hailing service Uber Taiwan on Wednesday called on the government to reconsider proposed changes to existing regulations that would require rental car companies working with Uber to adopt hourly or day-based fare rates.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC) announced proposed changes to existing rental car regulations on Feb. 21 that would prohibit trips of less than one hour and restrict any form of discount or deal offered to customers.

Under the MOTC 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 would also require fares to be charged by the hour or the day.

The proposed regulation changes are now subject to a 60-day consultation period.

At a press conference Wednesday, Uber Taiwan General Manager Willy Wu (吳罡) said that if the government's proposed regulation changes designed to protect Taiwan's taxi industry are introduced, they would negatively impact the business model of rental car companies, threatening the livelihoods of 10,000 Uber drivers and their families, and restricting choice for 3 million regular Uber users across Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Shih Ching-hua (石靜華), an Uber driver, said that sudden change in the regulations would badly hurt the rental car and driver service industry, mainly because the requirement rental car companies working with Uber charge fares by the hour, to differentiate the service they offer from those of taxi companies, would make car rentals less appealing to customers.

Shih called it ridiculous to ask consumers to pay a one-hour minimum rental fee for a journey that takes less than one hour, saying the proposed new regulations could cut rental car drivers' income in half.

Wu instead called on the government to support an Uber proposal that would allow customers to book a taxi or a rental car through an app, a practice that he said is increasingly popular with millions of passengers worldwide.

This would provide a win-win situation for taxis and rental car operators and drivers, while also providing passengers with choice, Wu added.

However, taxi operators said Uber's proposal is not new as regulations already exist allowing customers to book taxis or rental cars through an app.

(By Jeffrey Wu and Evelyn Kao)