The grassroots Macau Community Development Initiative (MCDI) group will hold a protest rally on September 4 to urge the government to support global ride-hailing giant Uber’s continued operation in Macau, lawmaker Au Kam San, who heads the group, told reporters after he reported an alleged “land debt” case to the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) on Thursday.
According to the group’s social media site, the protest aims to support Uber’s presence in Macau and urge the government to make it easier for residents to hail a taxi in the city.
According to a statement signed by regional Uber executives that was uploaded by Au on his social media site on Wednesday, the company “intends to suspend” its local service on September 9 as the government still had no timetable for authorising Uber’s local business and for imposing more than 10 million patacas in fines and security deposits on its drivers.
“If you put aside [alleged] collusion between businessmen and government officials taking place…, why can a ride-sharing service be authorised in the mainland while Macau, a modern tourist city, cannot?”, Au asked rhetorically, adding that a “responsible government” should make an effort to improve Macau’s taxi situation by authorising Uber’s service.
Uber’s statement uploaded to Au’s Facebook account quotes Mike Brown, the company’s Asia regional general manager, as saying that his company planned to exit Macau, less than 10 months after it launched its local operation.
Trasy Lou Walsh, the general manager of Uber in Macau, was quoted by Reuters on Thursday as saying: “We are committed to continuing to serve the riders and drivers of Macau. We continue to seek opportunities to work with the government on modern ride-sharking regulations that will give us the chance to keep serving the people of Macau.”
Uber is understood to have some 2,000 full- and part-time drivers in Macau.
The government has repeatedly said since Uber’s launch here on October 22 last year that its operation is illegal.
The Public Security Police (PSP) reaffirmed in a statement last night that any ride-hailing business that does not have a licence and uses private vehicles to provide paid passenger services is illegal. The statement also said that the police were merely carrying out their duty of enforcing the law.(Macau News / The Macau Post Daily)