Thailand has joined the growing number of countries cracking down on Uber. The Department of Land Transport has said that the ride sharing service will now face fines for improperly using cars and not using the approved fare structure. This marks the third country in Southeast Asia that Uber has run afoul of, after Malaysia and Indonesia.
The department claimed Uber vehicles are improperly registered, charge fares not in line with regulated rates, utilise drivers without the proper licenses and discriminate against customers without credit cards. These claims are not unheard of as even Malaysia has clamped down on Uber drivers for not properly registering their vehicles. There is possibly no denying that the ride sharing service does not charge fares according to government regulations as that happens to be part of what it does.
As expected, it appears that the local taxi operators have been putting pressure on the government to crack down on the service that has been eating into their profits. Most of these taxis are still clinging to the traditional model of driving around to look for customers, despite introduction of mobile apps that make hailing a taxi much more efficient.
Singapore on the other hand appears to be introducing new regulations for third party taxi booking apps, and is ready to allow Uber to operate as it pleases in the city state. Depending on how these regulations turn out, it could be a model for Uber to bring to other governments on how to deal with its industry disrupting service.
India has similarly decided to allow Uber to operate freely, although new banking regulations about online payments have ended up frustrating both customers and operators. Which is more or less indirectly discouraging people to use the service and would probably be more effective at preventing it from continuing to operate in the country without actually banning it.
[Source: Bangkok Post]