Taipei, Oct. 30 (CNA) U.S.-based ride-sharing company Uber Technologies Inc. returned to the Taiwan market on Monday when it launched its UberTaxi app technology in Taipei.
UberTaxi, which is Uber's way back into Taiwan after its services were banned in February, is a collaboration between Uber and Taiwanese taxi companies Crown Taxi, Ya Tai Taxi, and Q Taxi that puts Uber's ride-sharing and rating technology in currently operating cabs.
Brooks Entwistle, head of Uber's business operations in Asia, called the launch of UberTaxi in Taiwan a way to build deep connections with local businesses, governments, and taxi companies.
The app, like the original Uber app, directly connects taxi drivers working for the three Taiwanese taxi companies with prospective passengers.
All UberTaxi trips are GPS-tracked and can be rated on the smartphone app as well as shared in real time with family and friends.
A key provision of the partnership is that passengers will have to pay their taxi fares in cash based on the meter, in contrast to Uber's original model where passengers pay a previously agreed sum on their phones.
To ensure safety and quality, UberTaxi will only work with taxis no older than five years of age and drivers with proper taxi licenses.
Entwistle said UberTaxi will cut down on the amount of time taxis spend empty and allow them to operate more efficiently.
Asked about the NT$1.1 billion in fines Uber has yet to pay for operating passenger transportation services without a license when it first entered the market, Entwistle said Uber is in talks with relevant government officials and agencies to resolve the situation.
While UberTaxi will initially only be available in Taipei, Entwistle hopes to bring the service as well as other Uber products to more places in Taiwan.
On the same day as Uber's launch of UberTaxi in Taipei, TaxiGo, which many have dubbed the Taiwanese version of Uber, announced that it has reached over 800,000 users in the three months since it began operating officially in Taiwan.
The service uses the instant messaging apps Line and Facebook to hail a cab, so users do not have to download an additional app or register their personal information.
UberTaxi's entry into Taiwan will only add competition to a market in which more than 20 cab-hailing apps already exist.