Motorcycle Taxis from GrabBike and Uber Suspended in Thailand

Competition emerging from the new models of the sharing economy  -Uber or  Airbnb to just name two of them- are increasingly facing the  opposition from existing corporate professions such as taxis, hotels etc…

Western Europe has so far been the most resilient to changes but opposition starts to mount up now in  Asia. Following complaints of moto-taxis in Bangkok, Thailand Department of Land Transport ordered early last week Uber Technologies and Grab to immediately halt their motorcycle taxi-hailing services.

The DLT warned all motorcycle taxi drivers that they had to register or face maximum fines if they refuse to abide to the law.

DLT deputy director-general Nunthapong Cherdcho explained to Thai local newspapers that UberMoto and GrabBike services had caused inequality and injustice to the motorbike taxi drivers who pay fees under the current official registration system. Talks occurred already in March as the DLT demanded drivers to register as public transport providers.

While both Uber and GrabTaxi indicated their willingness a to seek for a solution, both companies have closed their eyes over their drivers’ practices who continued to accept passengers. The DLT officially suspended both motorbike services at the end of last week. DLT officials, police and soldiers  are now launching a crackdown on the UberMoto and GrabBike service providers. Fines up to THB 4,000 baht will be given to offenders.

There are over 186,000 motorcycles registered to provide taxi services in Thailand, almost half of which serve in Bangkok, according to government data.

According to the deputy director-general of the DLT, GrabBike and Uber Moto services are unfair to the traditional motorcycle taxi services which are Under rules laid down by the National Council for Peace and Order. The deputy director-general said to media that  the department holds nothing against the use of technology in providing better public transportation services to the people, but such operations must be implemented under the framework set by the laws.

Mr Cherdcho  asked also the public to avoid the services of the illegal motorcycle taxi drivers. Both companies will be able to resume services once they will comply with the law. New meetings are planned between the department and both companies.

The on-demand motorcycle service for people and parcels has already launched in Hanoi, Hi Chi Minh City and Jakarta, and claims to provide insurance up to 2,000 baht with all drivers’ backgrounds thoroughly checked, Bangkok is the third location to accept these new services.

The on-demand motorcycle taxi is becoming popular as -in contrary to existing services, it offers a distance-based pricing, fixed in advance ; it provides a pick-up at home ; it can be tracked along the way, adding to security ; it is insured against damage and it provides a receipt for each ride.