Thai DLT to look at legalising GrabCar and GrabBike

Thailand’s Department of Land Transport is toying with the idea of officially legalising the Grab ride-hailing services using private cars and motorcycles through the Grab App.

The DLT say they are already aware of the issue but say amendments would be required to the Land Transport Act if it were to happen. Today they were unable to put a timescale on the necessary amendments if the new Cabinet were to instruct the changes.

Anutin Charnvirakul, leader of the Bhumajaithai Party, went to the last election with a party policy of legalising GrabCar and GrabBike. Saksayam Chidchob, secretary-general of Bhumajaithai, is poised to become the new transport minister as part of the pre-PM vote negotiations where ministerial portfolios were dangled as carrots to secure votes for Prayut Chan-o-cha before the parliamentary session where he was elected.

There has been massive push-back from the country’s traditional taxis, tuk tuks and ‘win’ (motorbike taxis) who have held an almost gang-like monopoly over the services for decades. There has been protests and violence making headlines in the past year as the traditional services try and stave off the legalising of the new-technology services.

Read The Thaiger story HERE.

Grab services are already widely popular around Thailand but the law has been fairly opaque about the issue and enforcement has been perfunctory up to now.

The DLT have said they believe that overseas ride-hailing experiences may need to be studied and that other changes would need to be made eg. will Grab providers need to have a public driving license?

The DLTs ‘Taxi OK’ App, released to provide an App-booking experience for the current taxi services, has been a big failure.

Meanwhile, the Grab Car and Grab Bike services in Bangkok, for example, have provided users with a superior and reliable experience, usually less expensive than the traditional services. The Grab App shows the identity of the driver, previous votes from passengers, a map showing them coming to pick you up, time-to-arrival and a lot of other features.

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