Despite being ordered to stop providing taxi services in Thailand, it seems that Uber is blatantly ignoring the ban for the time being.
The company was recently slapped with a directive to cease, after Thailand’s Department of Land Transport stated that drivers were forbidden from using personal vehicles for commercial purposes.
Fines of up to 2,000 baht may be levied on anyone found to be in violation of the decree, but it’s difficult to see how such fines can actually be imposed on Uber’s drivers simply due to the practicalities of tracking them down.
Fortunately for the drivers, it’s almost impossible to tell if they are being used for Uber, unless you use the smartphone app in which you can see that earlier today at least, there were cars available for hire in and around Bangkok.
The company has also been told to stop operating in Spain and India for similar reasons. But it signifies something of a backlash among authorities around the world in the face of Uber’s expansion plans. So far, the talk has been tough, and these countries are more or less just enforcing their existing rules.
There may yet be an opportunity for Uber to operate more within the transportation rules already in place, for example by registering drivers and providing suitable insurance. Certainly as far as consumers are concerned, services like Uber seem to fulfil the need for cheap and convenient transport that can be ordered on a smartphone.
Uber’s minimum charge for it’s Bangkok “UberX” service is currently 45 Thai Baht. Uber bills itself as convenient and cheaper than taxis, who more than likely agree with the ban in the first place.
However, there has been some confusion since the Department of Land Transport announced the ban on Wednesday.
Currently the ban only applies to unlicensed vehicles and the Uber X service.
According to Thailand blogger, Richard Barrow, the Uber Black service, which uses fully licensed drivers, with green car registration plates, can continue to operate in Thailand.
— Richard Barrow (@RichardBarrow) December 10, 2014
Let us know in the comments if have used Uber recently – either since the ban, or let us known your experiences using the service in general.