No Really, Govt Tells GrabBike and UberMoto, What You’re Doing is Illegal

GrabBike taxi operators in a promotional image posted Feb. 3. Photo: Grab / Facebook

BANGKOK — Two alternative motorcycle taxi services were summoned by authorities Tuesday and told to get off the road for a second time.

After ignoring a March order to cease operations, representatives of GrabBike and UberMoto were called in again by transportation officials who told them they present unfair competition to traditional motorcycle taxis, who have faced stricter regulation under military rule.

Nanthapong Cerhdchoo of the Department of Land Transport said both Singapore-based Grab and California-based Uber could be described as the kind of underworld elements the government has labeled “influential figures.”

In March, sweeping police powers were granted to the military to pursue a 4-month-old campaign against organized crime which has swept up drug dealers and environmental activists alike.


Authorities said they have arrested 37 GrabBike drivers and 29 from UberMoto as both companies have not just ignored the ban but promoted and expanded their services by hiring more drivers.

Grab launched GrabBike in Thailand in August. UberMoto began piloting its first moto service this past February in parts of Bangkok.

On March 11, Nanthapong announced they were operating out of compliance with commercial transportation law.

The penalty for using a private motorbike to carry paying passengers is a 2,000 baht fine. Those not wearing a regulation vest can be fined 1,000 baht, as can those without a proper driver’s license.

In a statement released Tuesday evening, Grab said they are still looking for a solution to the problem. Grab promised to inform the press again when there is some progress.

As of this afternoon, GrabBike continues advertising discounts.

“We are not the antagonist,” was written on their Facebook page.

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