Finally: Thailand To Legalise Ride-Hailing Services
Sep 12, 2019

Thailand has drafted guidelines to finally regulate ride-hailing companies and aims to legalise existing and new services by March next year, Reuters cited Jirut Wisarnjit, the transport ministry’s deputy permanent secretary, as saying.

This would put an end to the situation that ride-sharing services exist in a legal gray area in Thailand, with police routinely stopping and fining drivers because they are not properly registered, and registered taxi and motorbike drivers regularly protesting against and even attacking ride-sharing providers.

The guidelines require private vehicles to be registered and equipped with a GPS system, the transport ministry said in a statement. Drivers will need a public driver’s license and ride-hailing firms must verify the identities of drivers and operate a 24-hour complaint center.

“We have to look at what is possible within the law to give choice to the public – not increase competition with taxis in the system,” deputy permanent secretary Jirut Wisansitr told Reuters.

Ride-booking services are popular in urban areas of Thailand for being sometimes cheaper and less likely to refuse to take passengers to their destinations than regular taxis, but they have irked traditional taxi drivers.

The proposed changes come after the Bhumjaithai Party campaigned in this year’s election on a promise to legalise ride-hailing services. The party won enough seats to join a coalition government and was given responsibility for the transport ministry.

Some ride-hailing companies have been operating in Thailand’s unregulated market for a few years now. Singapore-based Grab offers rides in cars and on motorcycles, while its rival Get, a unit of Indonesia’s Go-Jek, only offers motorcycle rides. Others are GoBike, All Thai Taxi and EasyTaxi. Uber is not available in Thailand.