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Thai Transport Authority Fines Uber, Grab Drivers

Thailand’s transport authorities are going after drivers who work for ride-hailing services like Uber and GrabCar, even saying they will ask the military government to ban them if needed, according to Fortune Magazine.

When U.S.-based Uber launched in Thailand in 2014, the Department of Land Transport said the company’s drivers were not properly registered or insured, and its payment system did not meet regulations. However, authorities did little to stop the service since it was so popular with tourists and locals.

But the government is clamping down on the service now, with 23 Uber drivers fined in Bangkok this week alone. Grab drivers have also been fined, though not as many, with drivers caught working for one of apps now having their licenses suspended for up to six months and fined 2,000 baht ($57).

Authorities are targeting Uber and GrabCar specifically because they are the only two services in Thailand where private car owners can use their own cars to pick up passengers. Uber has a site set up so drivers can sign up and start earning money through the app.

The Department of Land Transport’s Deputy Director-General Nanthapong Cherdchu said the agency would ask the military government to use an emergency measure to shut down the apps if drivers don’t comply. Many taxi drivers in the country — angry over losing business to the two apps — have even launched their own investigations in an effort to turn Uber and Grab drivers over to the authorities. Uber, however, is hoping they can work with the government and convince them that these ride-hailing services are beneficial to the country.

“Uber remains committed to creating reliable transportation for everyone,” Uber spokeswoman Amy Kunrojpanya said in a statement to Reuters.

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