Thailand has ordered Uber and Grab to halt their motorcycle taxi-hailing services, a senior transport official said yesterday.
The app transportation services are popular among city dwellers in Thailand’s most grid-locked city, where bikes weaving through traffic jams get people around in a fraction of the time a car takes.
There are over 186,000 motorcycles registered to provide taxi services in Thailand, almost half in Bangkok, according to government data.
UberMoto and GrabBike services had caused conflict with those traditionally registered to provide taxi services, said Nunthapong Cherdchoo, a senior official at the transport ministry.
GrabBike said in a statement that it was working with the government to resolve the issues.
“GrabBike offers a service that reduces traffic in Bangkok, one of the world’s most congested cities,” Singapore-headquartered Grab said in a statement. “Staff are well-trained and insured.”
Uber representatives were not immediately available for comment. Uber launched its UberMoto service in Bangkok in February.
Authorities have arrested 66 motorcycle drivers working for Uber and GrabBike, Nunthapong said. They would face fines of up to THB4,000 for first-time offences and have their licenses suspended for repeat offences.
Last week, a GrabBike driver was fined after a video of him getting harassed by local motorcycle-taxi drivers went viral on the social media.
San Francisco-based Uber has grown rapidly around the world but has faced protests, bans and restrictions in a number of cities.