By Ko Lin
New and existing taxi fares in Taipei, New Taipei City and Keelung will co-exist after October as there is insufficient time for all taxi drivers to upgrade their meters by due date, the Taipei City Public Transportation Office said Monday.
Fares are to be increased by about 14 percent on average for the first time in seven years on October 1, the three municipalities announced last week.
According to the transportation office, the existing NT$70 fee for the first 250 meters will remain unchanged, but the NT$5 currently charged for every additional 250m will be collected every 200m.
The amount charged on the meter when a taxi idles will be adjusted to NT$5 for every 80 seconds rather than the current NT$5 for every 100 seconds. Passengers who take a taxi between 11pm and 6am will continue to be surcharged NT$20 for late-hour services, it added.
“There is currently only one transport company authorized by the government to upgrade meters for over 60,000 taxis in the greater Taipei metropolitan area, including Keelung,” Cheng Li-chia said, president of the Taipei City Professional Drivers’ Union.
“It would take at least three to four months before all taxi meters are upgraded.”
Cheng however urged the government to put only the new taxi fare in effect and phase out the old rate next month in order to minimize possible disputes between operators and passengers.
“There is bound to be disputes as there is no unified fare standard,” he exclaimed.
Regarding the possible controversy surrounding the co-existence of new and existing fares, the Taipei Department of Transportation’s division Chief Chen Rong-ming said it will look for ways to speed up the taxi meter upgrade.
He however failed to elaborate on how the department will carry out a solution.