As Uber has been operating illegally in Taiwan for four years, the Legislative Yuan passed the amendment to the “Highway Act” this afternoon, UDN reported. The amendment will raise fines levied against the California-based company from a range of NT$50,000 to NT$150,000 to NT$100,000 to NT$25 million per violation.
In addition, drivers may have their licenses and license plates suspended for four to 12 months or even revoked, a harsher penalty than the two to six months previously.
The new penalties against the ride-hailing app and its drivers are set to go into effect on January 1.
Uber and its drivers in Taiwan have already been fined more than NT$83 million over the last four years. In August, the company was told to suspend its operations in Taiwan. However, the government reversed the ruling and sought a compromise to rewrite laws that would allow the company to continue operating. Faced with strong opposition from the taxi drivers union, the government did not amend any laws that would have allowed Uber to operate as a transportation company. The company originally registered in Taiwan as a technology business.
The company had previously angered its own drivers when it cut fares in an effort to attract more customers. Uber drivers threatened to strike if the company continued with the plan to cut fares. Uber also sold its operations in China to Didi Chuxing in August.
Uber responded to the Legislative Yuan’s decision in an email to users asking them to send messages to President Tsai Ing-wen in support of the company. In its email it says, “We believe that there are more constructive ways to find solutions around ridesharing. We’ve had many cases of success around the world, and have some ideas on how to implement this in Taiwan….The government needs to know that there are hundreds of thousands of people who depend on the Uber platform every day.”