Taiwan court scraps fine for Uber

Central government did not have jurisdiction to fine Uber, but local government has: court

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Uber will not have to pay a hefty fine, but appeals are still possible.

Uber will not have to pay a hefty fine, but appeals are still possible. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Ride-hailing company Uber will not have to pay a fine of NT$30 million (US$969,000) as the Ministry of Transportation’s Directorate General of Highways (DGH) did not have jurisdiction in the matter, the Taipei High Administrative Court ruled Saturday.

The verdict in a case involving 233 fines and a government order for the United States company to stop operations in Taiwan can still be appealed.

In 2016, a Taipei division of the DGH found that Uber had 233 customers in Taipei City and New Taipei City pay bills with credit cards and then redistributed the takings among the drivers who had been sent out using its app, the Central News Agency reported.

As the company had not registered to provide the service, the DGH fined it NT$50,000, NT$100,000 or NT$150,000 per case, thus reaching a total of NT$30 million.

However, Uber filed an appeal with the administrative justice system, arguing that it was the local city’s highway authorities who were responsible for leveling fines on such items, and not the central government.

The Taipei High Administrative Court argued that Uber had been running an illegal taxi service, but that it was the responsibility of the Taipei City Government’s road management authorities to oversee legal issues regarding Uber’s services. The court concluded that the Ministry of Transportation department had overstepped its authority, and Uber should not pay the fine.

The company was banned in Taiwan from February until April 2017, when it launched a new service in cooperation with legal rental car agencies.