The expression ‘when it rains, it pours’ fits Uber’s taxi service at the moment. Its latest problem is that elements of its business in Thailand have been ruled illegal, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Following concerns raised last week, the director-general of the Land Transport department Teerapong Rodprasert told the WSJ that some of Uber’s operations are illegal in the country because the company uses private hire cars to carry out its business, rather than licensed taxis.
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Rodprasert clarified that the service hasn’t actually been banned from operating though. In Bangkok, it offers its UberX and UberBlack services, whereas in Phuket (where it launched in October), it just has the cheaper ride option.
The news follows a slew of negative headlines for the company around the alleged rape of a passenger by a driver in India and the service’s subsequent ban. The prohibition was then later extended to cover all similar taxi-booking services in the country. In a completely different market, yesterday the city of Portland filed a legal suit against Uber for its operations.
We’ve asked Uber for a statement and clarity around exactly which aspects of its services have been deemed illegal. We’ll update if we hear back.
Update: We’ve received a statement from Uber regarding the situation that suggests it will try to work with the government to meet its criteria for legal operation.
“Our goal is simple – we want to keep Thailand moving forward in a way that increases safety and reduces congestion. Uber gives consumers more choice and drivers greater income potential, while providing the city with a more efficient transportation system as it strides towards becoming a digital economy,” a spokesperson said. “Uber respects the Department of Land Transportation (DLT) and its important role as the key regulator on vehicle-for-hire transport in Thailand. We look forward to continued conversations with the DLT to bring our innovative transportation solutions within the appropriate regulatory framework in Thailand.”
➤ Thai Government Says Some of Uber’s Operations Illegal [WSJ Digits]