Police quell Bolt vs Win motorbike taxi driver standoff on Pattaya Beach

Police shut down a 70-man altercation between Bolt and Win motorbike taxi drivers before things turned violent last night on Pattaya Beach, Chon Buri province, eastern Thailand.

At 12.30am today, Superintendent of Pattaya City Police Station Pol. Lt. Col. Surachet Aneksri was informed that around 70 motorbike Win and Bolt drivers were gathered on Pattaya Beach, opposite Soi 6 in Nong Prue subdistrict, Bang Lamung district. Police headed to the scene.

The orange-jacketed “Win” drivers – Thailand’s original motorbike taxi drivers – claim that Pattaya’s Bolt drivers are operating illegally. The drivers said they gathered together to catch the attention of the relevant agencies.

The Win drivers showed papers to the police of their prior complaints to various agencies documenting their concerns regarding Bolt’s operations in Thailand.

Police could not find a solution to the problem on the spot but managed to prevent the altercation from turning violent – like it has done in the past – by assuring the Win drivers that they would investigate their allegations.

Superintendent Surachet said that the incident could negatively impact Pattaya’s image as a tourist destination and requested that both parties separate and refrain from fighting, which they agreed to. Police took a group of Win representatives to the police station to listen to their concerns.

Thailand legalised ride-hailing apps a couple of years ago but did not legalise Bolt. Three weeks ago, the Department of Land Transport (DLT) reported that only six motorbike taxi ride-hailing apps are certified by the DLT as safe and legal, including Hello Phuket Service, Bonku, Asia Cab, Robinhood, Grab, and AirAsia Superapp.

The list suggests that the popular ride-hailing app Bolt, often providing cheaper rates, is not a safe and legal option.

In January, three Win drivers were injured after being beaten with a baseball bat and an iron bar, allegedly by Bolt drivers, near Jomtien Beach in Pattaya. The week prior, two Bolt drivers were assaulted in Pattaya.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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