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Greenlight given for app-based taxi and bike taxi services

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From Thai PBS World

Thailand’s Land Transport Department (LTD) has given approval for app-based Robinhood and Grab to operate taxi and motorcycle taxi ride hailing services in the country.

The two operators are required to submit bank guarantee letters to the department within 30 days, ensure that they comply with the conditions set by the department and cover damage caused to their passengers and their bikers in the course of providing their services, said LTD Deputy Director-General Seksom Akraphand today (Thursday).

The two operators are also required to submit their ride-hailing operational plans to the department within 15 days, he said, adding that private cars used to provide the services will have to be re-registered as public transport vehicles and the drivers will have to apply for public transport driving licenses and have their criminal records checked by the police.

Drivers will have fixed parking locations and services will only be provided via the booking applications. The service rates must not exceed those set by the department, said Seksom.

The LTD had previously approved ride-hailing services provided by Hello Phuket Service, Bonku and Asia Cab only.

Conventional taxi and motorcycle taxi drivers in Thailand have strongly opposed such app-based services, claiming that they offer cheaper fares because they have fewer expenses, particularly by not having to change the status of their private vehicles into public transport.

Most passengers, however, appear more satisfied with the app-based ride-hailing services, because they are more reliable and their rates are fixed.

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The Bolt app in Pattaya has been wonderful for me. Basically I now pay the same amount that I used to pay for a motorbike taxi, only I travel in an airconditioned car! While I used to rent a car once a month to do my big shopping, now I just use Bolt taxi. Excellent service at a very reasonable price, and of course I always tip them too. I almost feel embarrassed when I walk past the local motorbike taxi people I had used for the past eleven years.

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