COVID-19: Taipei Taxi Drivers May Act As Delivery Drivers: Mayor

The New Taipei City also announced yesterday that drivers could deliver meals and goods, a move local unions hailed amid a virus alert.

  • By Cheng Ming-hsiang, Tsai Ya-hua and Jake Chung / Staff Journalists, with the Editor-in-Chief

Taipei taxis are allowed to serve as food and cargo delivery vehicles during COVID-19 level 2, 3 or 4 alerts, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said on Thursday.

However, taxi drivers should follow industry accepted prices and not use taxi meter fares, he said.

The announcement came after Taipei Professional Drivers Union President Cheng Li-chia (鄭力嘉) said Taipei should find ways to help taxi drivers handle fewer passengers in the framework. level 3 alert issued last month, citing the decision of the Kaohsiung city government to allow taxi drivers to deliver meals to restaurants.

Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times

Taipei City Dynamic Taxi Industry Union chairman Hu Wei-cheng (胡偉成) welcomed Ko’s announcement, but said the city government should consider allowing taxis making deliveries to be considered as freight vehicles, which would allow them to park in the delivery and loading areas.

The new director of the Taipei City Transportation Department, Chung Ming-shih (鍾鳴 時), said yesterday that the city is also allowing taxis to deliver meals and goods during the pandemic, effective yesterday.

It would make transportation easier for the logistics industry, give taxi drivers an additional source of income and help stores sell goods through online platforms, Chung said.

Photo: Wang Shu-hsiu, Taipei Time

Some taxi drivers have chosen to stop working during the pandemic, but many say they cannot because they have to support their families.

“There is just no one around, even though we are driving 10 hours a day,” said one driver.

Cheng said on Tuesday that some union members told him that they only managed to pick up a passenger after five or six hours of work, and that the fares – sometimes just over NT $ 100 – were not not sufficient to cover fuel costs.

Taxi drivers have not received fuel allowances this year, Cheng said, adding that even if there were allowances, many drivers would rather rely on their income rather than government subsidies.

Taiwan has been on national level 3 alert since May 19, which has been extended until June 28.

Additional reports from Ho Yu-hua

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