Taitung County Recruits Taxi Drivers 台東僅3輛防疫專車 縣府招募防疫計程車

Taitung County has jumped from zero to 17 confirmed cases. Now it is reported that Taitung County has only three special anti-epidemic cars. The County Government is now offering a daily salary of NT$3,500 to openly recruit taxi drivers. 

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taitung County has exploded from zero to 17. So far, more than 270 people have been quarantined. Now it is reported that the number of special anti-epidemic vehicles in Taitung County has been reduced from 6 vehicles to only 3. In the past few days, transporting patients for screenings and quarantine could not be completed until the early morning hours.

Wu Hsiao-hui, Director, Disease Control Department, Health Bureau, Taitung County Gov't: “Our team is heavily burdened because those that came in contact need to be transported in epidemic prevention vehicles before and after quarantine.”

The County Government is now recruiting qualified taxis to serve as special anti-epidemic vehicles, with a daily salary of NT$3,500 and subsidizing fuel costs. Although some taxi drivers said the salary is attractive, most still feel the risk is too high and have no interest.

Wu Hsiao-hui, Director, Disease Control Department, Taitung County Health Bureau: “The basic salary is NT$3,500 per day. Then a fuel subsidy is provided based on the distance amount that was driven.”

Hsieh Hui-hui, Chairperson, Taitung County Taxi Association: “There is a risk of infection for the driver when transporting these passengers. Thus, if a driver is infected and has to go to quarantine, he or she will not have operating income for those 14 days.”

The County Government said there are already established regulations. If a driver of an anti-epidemic car is infected or quarantined, the Social Affairs Department will provide a subsidy of NT$1,000 per day. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications will also provide up to NT$2,100 per day, totaling a maximum of NT$3,100 per day. The County Government hopes taxi drivers will join the program.