BANGKOK — Following government bans of two private motorbike taxi services for being out of regulatory compliance, the traditional, orange-vested operators were handed down a rate structure yesterday they must adhere to for long trips.
Under the new rate first proposed late last year, fares are capped for each kilometer after the second at a level that still compares unfavorably to those presently offered by the private, smartphone-based services.
“The new rate offers a fairer price to passengers,” said Darun Sangchai of the Transport Ministry. “The new law limits the rate until the 15th kilometer and leaves it up to negotiation for longer distances.”
According to new law, moto taxis cannot charge more than 5 baht for the third to fifth kilometers. No more than 10 baht can be charged for the sixth to 15th kilometers.
Hence a 15-kilometer trip cannot cost more than 140 baht.
For trips over 15 kilometers, passengers must negotiate the fare. If no fare is negotiated, the passenger is protected: the operator cannot demand more than 10 baht per kilometer upon arrival.
That fare is still significantly higher than the GrabBike service, which charges a flat rate of 5 baht per kilometer on top of a 10 baht fee, according to its website. Traveling 15 kilometers by GrabBike would therefore cost 85 baht (in practical use, other fees may be added.)
Competitor UberMoto also begins at 10 baht, but then uses a rate structure based on distance and travel time: 3.5 baht per kilometer plus 0.85 baht per minute. Under that structure, a 15 kilometer trip taking 30 minutes would cost 88 baht.
Both GrabBike and UberMoto are operating despite being summarily banned this month by the Transport Ministry, which said they were anti-competitive and out of legal compliance.
Soldiers and officials summoned UberMoto earlier this week as part of the military government’s recent crackdown on such services. One reason cited by authorities was that their fare rates did not comply with regulations.