Uber calls on Thais to sign petition to back ride-sharing
Lack of rules puts local services in grey area
Uber Technologies is inviting Thais to push for amendment of the Motor Vehicle Act of 1979 by gathering 10,000 signatures to support ride-sharing services.
Thailand is the only country in Asean that lacks regulations supporting ride-sharing.
"We have operated here for over three years and attempted to work with state authorities in supporting innovative technology such as ride-sharing to reduce traffic jams," said Amy Kunrojpanya, Uber's director of public policy and communications for Asia-Pacific.
Bangkok has 5.5 million vehicles on the road, but the space can support only 1.5 million vehicles, Mrs Amy said.
"Uber is determined to serve Thais and the millions of visitors through ride-sharing technology," she said. "By embracing technology and its benefits to riders, drivers and the city, we will move towards the country's Thailand 4.0 agenda."
An Assumption University poll of Bangkok residents on ride-sharing found that 82.1% wanted the government to support the use of the technology to improve transport, 70.3% agreed with using personal vehicles for public transport to cut the number of cars on the road, and 79.6% said ride-sharing services should be regulated.
On satisfaction with ride-sharing, 89.1% of respondents in Bangkok said they appreciated the service for its convenience and comfort, 85.5% expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the drivers, and 83.2% commended the drivers for their safety and driving etiquette.
Mrs Amy said Uber has constantly sought to share the experiences in the regulation of ride-sharing by governments of different countries, working with study groups in Thailand since 2016.
This past March, the company joined Thailand's Transport Ministry and Land Transport Department in setting up a six-month study of ride-sharing.
In July, Uber Thailand handed a request to the National Legislative Assembly for support of an amendment to current legislation to accommodate ride-sharing. The request is pending addition to the assembly's agenda.
"There was only one meeting so far, but we won't give up because we believe there's always opportunity for supporting new technology, in particular the outdated transport law," Mrs Amy said.
Uber is hoping to gather 10,000 signatures on a petition for amendment of the Motor Vehicle Act.
Opening the legislation to amendment would let the government add vehicles providing service via smartphone app and help regulate safety and service standards appropriately, she said.
Those interested in supporting ride sharing can download documentation at t.uber.com/regTH and mail completed forms to PO Box 79 Samsen Nai, Bangkok 10310, or submit the forms in person at Uber's Greenlight hubs and nationwide partner registration booths.
Uber's service area comprises Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Pattaya, Chon Buri and Khon Kaen. It operates globally in 600 cities in 77 countries.