《TAIPEI TIMES 焦點》 Uber suspends ride-hailing services

2017-02-0303:00

NOT LEAVING: Uber is also to put on hold a planned cooperation with local taxi operators that was supposed to start this month, a public relations official said

By Lauly Li / Staff reporter

Uber Taiwan, a local subsidiary of Uber Technologies Inc, yesterday announced that it is suspending its ride-hailing service from Friday next week after four years of operations, marking a setback for the US company in a years-long dispute with local authorities.

“We hope that pressing pause will reset the conversation and inspire President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to take action,” Uber Taiwan said in a statement.

The company’s announcement came amid an order from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to halt its operations in Taiwan.

The ministry yesterday slapped the company with combined fines of NT$232.1 million (US$7.46 million).

Uber Taiwan said it does not plan to leave the Taiwanese market nor does it plan to downsize its personnel here, a public relations official said.

There is no time frame for how long the suspension will last, the official told the Taipei Times by telephone.

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.

The services to be put on hold will include Uber’s planned cooperation with local taxi operators, named UberTaxi, which was planned to start this month, the official said.

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

The San Francisco-based company in 2013 launched its ride-hailing service in Taiwan by registering as an Internet technology service provider with a paid-in capital of NT$1 million.

The company’s activities have upset local taxi operators and Taiwanese authorities, as they regard Ubmomo購物網er as a company that should be regulated as a transportation firm rather than an Internet service provider.

Uber has more than 100,000 drivers and accumulated more than 15 million trips in Taiwan in the past four years, while its app has been downloaded more than 1 million times, according to company data.

Last year it expanded its ride-hailing service from Taipei to three other cities — Taoyuan, Taichung and Kaohsiung — and offered 15 percent discounts to encourage ridership, despite lawmakers and authorities repeatedly saying that the service is illegal.

The dispute escalated when the company called on Tsai in an open letter on Nov. 17 last year, asking the president to convene a public hearing on the ride-sharing economy instead of communicating with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications — a move that was interpreted by local media as disrespectful to the minmomo購物網商城istry.

新聞來源:TAIPEI TIMES

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