HCMC, Hanoi taxi assoc. voice concerns over Uber; exec says Uber's already registered in Vietnam

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Uber, a ride-sharing service that recently launched in the city, has sparked controversy about its legality. Photo: Dinh Muoi Uber, a ride-sharing service that recently launched in the city, has sparked controversy about its legality. Photo: Dinh Muoi

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The Ho Chi Minh City Taxi Association expressed grave concerns about the threat posed by Uber prior to a government reversal, following a suggestion from the minister of transportation that Vietnam negotiate an agreement with the controversial service.
Ta Long Hy, chairman of the association, argued that traditional taxis are required to pay numerous taxes, fees and insurance; Uber's drivers, so far, have paid none.
That’s why Uber can offer cheaper fares, he added.
“Uber is a multi-national group that uses many tricks to kill traditional taxi firms,” Hy said at a press conference held on Friday. “Once they achieve a monopoly, it will be difficult for the local authorities to manage them. Therefore, the government need to carefully consider allowing this service to operate in Vietnam.”
Inspectors from the municipal transport department said they prepared written reports about six local cars that were connecting to passengers through Uber. All six of the cars weren't registered as commercial vehicles, the inspectors found.
The announcement came a day after a high-ranking Uber executive responded to charges that the firm is operating illegally in Vietnam.
On Thursday, Michael Brown, Uber’s regional general manager in Southeast Asia, explained that the company isn't a transportation firm.
“Uber is not a taxi company, it's a technology firm. We have already registered as a tech business with the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Science and Technology,” said Brown.
“We have our own tax code and we perform all of the relevant tax procedures.”
Brown added that Uber neither owns a fleet of cars nor employs drivers.
That same day, the Hanoi Taxi Association sent a request to the Transport Ministry, asking the office to suspend Uber's operations until specific rules are created to manage the service.
In the written request, the deputy head of the association, Nguyen Anh Quan, claimed Uber's business model (wherein drivers directly profit from passengers without any oversight from a central firm) violates the nation's Transportation Law.
 

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