Wheels turn on ride-hailing study
A STUDY into ride-sharing services has been handed to the Department of Land Transport (DLT) ahead of deliberations that could pave the way for US-based industry leader Uber to operate legally in Thailand.
The Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) submitted the study to the department and the Ministry of Transport is expected to decide on the matter in May.
Sumet Ongkittikul, research director for transport and logistics policy at the TDRI, said that, among four directions proposed in the study, the ride-sharing application service providers would be required to register with the government on matters concerning expenses, fares and complaints handling. Drivers in ride-sharing operations would also have to hold public driving licences.
The study was conducted to review the practices in a number of countries, including Singapore, Australia, the United States, the Philippines and Malaysia.
The study envisages that people would have ride-sharing services as an alternative for travel, while the government can control the quality of the ride-sharing services. This would include ensuring the new operators would not have an advantage over the existing taxi services. The study also notes that the existing taxi services need improvement.
Operators of cars with black registration plates are required to register with the DLT and the vehicles must be subject to annual inspections in order to offer ride-sharing service. The study also noted that safety measures are required, such as the provision of travel insurance and emergency buttons via the applications.
Officials from the TDRI will discuss with the DLT the latter's recommendations. The study results would then be presented for a public hearing from all stakeholders, taking in consumers, the ride-sharing application service providers and taxi drivers.
It is expected that a ruling would be made within two to three months. The results will be forwarded to Ministry of Transport for consideration.