CORONAVIRUS/Airport-designated taxis barred from picking up other passengers

01/10/2022 07:59 PM
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An airport-designated taxi. CNA photo Jan. 10, 2022
An airport-designated taxi. CNA photo Jan. 10, 2022

Taipei, Jan. 10 (CNA) The Ministry of Transportation and Communications has signed a deal with airport-designated taxi drivers that will see them paid a daily subsidy for agreeing not to pick up fares other than airport arrivals amid a surge of COVID-19 cases related to Taiwan's main airport.

Under the deal, each contracted taxi driver will receive a daily payment of NT$3,500 (US$126.51) up to and including Jan. 23, the ministry said Monday.

The ministry announced the measure requiring airport-designated taxis to carry only arrivals from three major airports in Taiwan, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, after the country confirmed 30 domestic COVID-19 infections linked to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport over the past week.

The airports involved are Taoyuan airport, Songshan Airport in Taipei, and Kaohsiung International Airport (Siaogang Airport).

Contracted taxis can only pick up airport arrivals and transport them to quarantine hotels or government quarantine facilities for the duration of the agreed period, according to the ministry.

Any contracted taxi driver found to have violated the terms of the agreement will be required to repay the subsidy and have his or her right to queue up for passenger pick-ups at the airports revoked, the ministry said.

To prevent members of the public from mistakenly taking an airport-designated taxi, all contracted taxis will have an A3 size sticker placed on their vehicles to make them easier to identify, said Central Epidemic Command Center spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) at Monday's press briefing.

Meanwhile, the Directorate General of Highways (DGH) said in a statement issued the same day that contracts have been signed with nearly 3,000 airport-designated taxis to accommodate increasing demand during the Jan.29-Feb.6 Lunar New Year holiday.

The DGH further said it has also established standard operating procedures (SOP) for the cleaning and disinfection of airport-designated taxis for drivers to follow.

(By Yu Hsiao-han and Evelyn Kao)

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