Despite facing an official policy that has seen its users issued with some 379 fines totaling over $1.25 million since January, the ride-sharing mobile application Uber has announced that it intends to continue operations in Macau.
According to a report from the Macau Business Daily newspaper, the under-fire taxi-calling service recently organized an online petition that managed to obtain some 23,000 signatures from residents of the former Portuguese colony while about 300 protesters took to the streets on September 5 in support of the enterprise.
“We’ve heard every single one of you and we could not be more grateful,” read a statement from Uber. “We heard the mother of two who turned to Uber after being left stranded on the curb one too many times. We heard the casino worker who no longer has to leave home an hour early just to get to her shift on time now that she has a transportation option she can count on. We heard the many driver-partners who told us that the flexible income opportunity Uber represents is crucial to supporting their families. So, after much deliberation, Uber will continue to serve the riders and drivers of Macau.”
Uber declared that its ride-sharing service has been “embraced” by policymakers in more than 120 jurisdictions around the world including Mexico, Australia, Estonia and, most recently, China due to the “clear benefits to riders looking for more ways to get around, drivers looking for new economic opportunities and cities looking to manage congestion and extend the reach of public transit”.
“We have always believed we share the same goal as the government; building a more livable and prosperous Macau with better [and] more reliable transportation for residents and visitors and we hope the government will follow the example set by progressive [and] pro-innovation policymakers around the region and the world in recognizing the role ride-sharing can play in moving Macau forward,” read the statement from Uber.
Jose Pereira Coutinho from the Legislative Assembly Of Macau previously explained that any car-hailing service operating in Macau is required by law to bid for one of the city’s 100 taxi licenses, which are issued by the Land, Public Works And Transport Bureau.
“This is a legal online taxi-calling service that maintains a taxi service in Macau and it is the responsibility of any passenger to travel safely,” Wong Sio Chak, Security Secretary For Macau, told local television and radio broadcaster Teledifusao De Macau. “I believe that, as long as it follows the law and government policy, the government welcomes anybody or company to bid and provide a good transportation service in Macau.”