Ride-sharing service Uber has suspended its motorcycle taxi operation in Thailand following a ban issued by the Department of Land Transport (DLT) on Tuesday.
UberMoto was suspended as of noon Wednesday and its registered members have been informed, said Amy Kunrojpanya, a spokeswoman for Uber.
The DLT insisted UberMoto and GrabBike, both smartphone-based motorcycle taxi services, are illegal and were required to stop their operations or face stiff legal action. In response, GrabBike said Wednesday it is working with the government, but has not specified how it will proceed with its service.
The department said the firms' operations were also unfair to the roughly 100,000 motorcycle taxi drivers who are operating legally, threatening their jobs. The firms also failed to pay taxes, it said.
DLT deputy chief Nanthapong Cherdchoo said UberMoto and GrabBike must comply with regulations if they want to provide their services. Motorcycle taxis must be registered with the DLT.
Those using unregistered motorcycles to run their service are in breach of the law and are subject to arrest, Mr Nanthapong added.
Ms Kunrojpanya said Uber will discuss a way forward with the DLT so the company can resume its services.
However, Uber is pressing ahead with its UberTaxi car taxi service, and also will focus on its food delivery service UberEats, and courier service UberRush, Ms Kunrojpanya said.
She denied allegations Uber's service was draining jobs from Thais, saying 80% of the income from the service is shared among Thais. The service also creates jobs for Thais.
Motorcycle taxi drivers registered with Uber use their own vehicles to provide the service, she said.
Passengers can feel safe because drivers can be tracked on the GPS system. The drivers also identify themselves, she said.
She conceded there is still no law regulating UberTaxi and UberMoto in the country and the firm is in the process of holding talks and creating an understanding among agencies concerned about this technology, which is popular in many countries.
The DLT had ordered UberMoto and GrabBike motorcycle taxis to stop picking up customers during their last meeting in March because they were not registered for public transport. However, they continued the services and competed for passengers.