GrabBike operators will have another two weeks to register their bikes as commercial vehicles under new regulations bringing them in line with traditional motorcycle taxis.
The popular ride-hailing service announced that the deadline was extended to July 27 to obtain the yellow license plates needed, a hurdle that may cost some their jobs.
Representatives from both the service and regular motorcycle taxis riders met with the Land Transport Department to compromise on a new date to address complaints from many Grab drivers who may soon be out of work due to the new requirements, which include operating out of designated service areas.
“There will definitely be fewer motorists picking up everywhere,” Grab driver Thanee Phothong said. “Now that everyone is assigned to an area, it will be much harder for customers to call in Grabs.”
While GrabBike drivers can begin the registration process today, those with ineligible motorcycles, such as those with engines larger than 125cc, will be denied.
“Some riders own vehicles that are above 125cc,” said a Grab motorist who owns both a private and commercial bike. “They won’t be able to pick up customers anymore, so they would have to trade in for one that can register as a public vehicle.”
However, Thanee noted that Grab drivers can still deliver items.
“Even if they can’t pick up customers, I think GrabBikes can still use their vehicles to deliver via the express service,” Thanee said.
At various times in the past when the government declared Grab illegal, taxi services continued under the guise of deliveries.
Last week, the Transport Ministry announced that GrabBike operators must comply with the same rules as those regulating traditional win motosai.
That means they must charge the same fares as their orange-vested peers (read: likely more expensive), and riders must operate out of designated service areas.
To boot, they must register their vehicles as approved public transport vehicles with shiny yellow plates. Most Grab riders operate privately owned vehicles with white license plates.
Grab riders will be prohibited from picking up passengers outside their assigned service areas.
The change was a hard-fought win for the win motosai in their years-long campaign to rein in Grab, but many Grab riders worry it will put them out of work and result in fewer riders.