A Thai motorist was puzzled when he was accused of being an Uber driver just because he gave a ride to two foreign friends in Chiang Mai.
A Thai man, only identified as Parinya, sought help from netizens on a Chiang Mai web forum after a ticket was sent to his home — for the charge of using a private vehicle to provide public transport
Attached to the ticket was a photograph of his two foreign friends retrieving their suitcases from the trunk of his car.
So if you drive foreigners around, you must be an Uber driver — that’s the logic of Thai officials.
“I’m accused of being an Uber driver. Who would take responsibility for this?” Parinya wrote on CM108 forum.
“The story is that my family lives in Suphanburi and we met up with friends from abroad in Chiang Mai. Since they wanted to stay in town, we dropped them off so they could catch public transportation. But today I got a ticket sent to my house that I misused a private vehicle, and I have to pay a fine,” Parinya wrote on Friday.
This month Thai officials announced a crackdown on Uber and Grab Car drivers as the service is illegal in Thailand.
The letter, dated March 2, states that Parinya must pay a fine of THB2,000, and if he’s innocent, he must report to the Chiang Mai Provincial Land Transport Office.
The man questioned who would pay the travel expenses for him, since the distance from his hometown to Chiang Mai is 600 kilometers, or an eight hour drive.
“I called the transport office, and they said someone had made a complaint. So who would pay for the expenses? Suphanburi is not close to Chiang Mai. Travel cost is not cheap,” Prinya wrote.
Chanchai Keelapang, an official of Chiang Mai Provincial Land Transport Office, responded that Parinya will be allowed to send a letter or evidence that he’s not an Uber driver, and the office will consider his claims.
Chanchai added the office has issued more than ten tickets to suspected Uber drivers after public transport operators were troubled because they lost customers.
He said the local operators have been photographing private cars that pick up or drop off foreigners at hotels and tourist attractions and submit them to the transport office.
Chanchai said in all fairness, the office must summon all suspected Uber drivers for questioning.