BANGKOK (AFP) – Thailand has partially banned services by ride-sharing application Uber, authorities said Wednesday, as the US-based car hire business continues to grapple with regulators across the world.
The head of the kingdom’s Department of Land Transport said it has banned Uber’s use of unlicensed “black plate” vehicles, which link customers with private drivers, citing safety concerns and a lack of regulation.
“We are not banning the use of the Uber application, but we are banning the use of black plate vehicles, because they are illegal,” Teerapong Rodpraert, Director-General of Land Transport Department told AFP.
“We have held talks with Uber twice including yesterday (Tuesday). We must consider passenger safety because the taxi driver must have a public driving licence and a criminal records check with our department,” he said.
In Thailand, black plates are meant to be used for private vehicles but Uber’s application has allowed individual fare-paying customers to connect with a registered private driver under their “UberX” brand.
A slightly more expensive option allows users to locate cars with green plates, which are used by taxi and limousine services and driven by people with licences to take passengers.
The ban does not apply to licensed cars, Teerapong said.