Taxi hailing apps, with fares starting at 40 baht, have now been officially approved for use in Thailand, having received the sign off by Minister of Transport Saksayam Chidchob. The new ruling allows companies to apply for permissions to operate using mobile apps, subject to a 30-day trial period.
The Minister expects 10,000 taxis of up to 7 passenger capacity to be signed up for the programme and available in Bangkok. Taxis will be categorised into 3 different vehicle types from small taxi cars to large taxi vans with travel rates priced accordingly.
For the cheapest taxi option, rates will start at 40 to 45 baht for the first 2 kilometres and then will charge between 6 and 10 baht for each additional kilometre. Midrange taxis will start at 45 to 50 baht with 7 to 12 baht per kilometres after the first 2 kilometres. The largest taxi size will have pickup fees that include the first 2 kilometres priced at 100 to 150 baht, with additional kilometres costing 12 to 16 baht each.
To avoid price gouging, hailing charges to order or flag down the taxi has been limited to 20 baht maximum. Waiting or idling in traffic will be charged at a rate of 2 baht per minute as well.
The plan says that when a user orders a ride through a taxi hailing app, first priority will be given to public taxis followed by second priority to environmentally-friendly vehicles. Motorbike taxis are hoped to be added to the programme in the near future.
In order for companies to join, they must have registered capital of more than 5 million baht, a qualified business within Thailand, operate 24 hours a day, and must have never had GPS permissions revoked by providers. Companies that have expressed interest already and qualify for these restrictions include GrabTaxi, Robinhood (Purpil Venture Co), Delivery Hero/Food Panda, Velox Digital (Gojek) and Lineman.
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