Songthaew operators want transport officials punished for not dealing with Uber and GrabCar

File photo of a “songthaew”, known as a “red bus” in Chiang Mai. Photo: Abdul Rahman/ Flickr
File photo of a “songthaew”, known as a “red bus” in Chiang Mai. Photo: Abdul Rahman/ Flickr

The representatives of songthaew operators in Chiang Mai yesterday handed a letter to the Administrative Court, requesting the prosecution of the Chiang Mai Provincial Land Transport Office for failing to get rid of Uber and GrabCar drivers.

Operators of songthaews (open air pickup trucks with benches in the back), which are the main public transportation in Chiang Mai, say the transport office should be punished for not performing their duty. The representatives also asked for a complete ban of Uber and Grab in Thailand.

Their leader, Sombat Siri, said the ride-sharing apps hurt their business and still freely run advertisements online, Daily News reported.

In March, the “Uber witch hunt” in the city received national criticism, as drivers suspected of working for Uber were randomly reported to the transport office. In one case, a Thai man claimed he was falsely reported just because he gave a ride to his foreign friends.

Chanchai Keelapang, an officer at the Chiang Mai Provincial Land Transport Office, responded that the organization does not fail to perform their duty, but they cannot simply entrap Uber and GrabCar drivers, neither does it have the authority to ban applications in Thailand.

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