Ministry of Transport Announces Taxi Hailing Apps Now Legal

Thailand’s transport minister Saksayam Chidchob announced that the government had approved some rules to allow apps to hail taxis.

Companies requesting approval to run applications must undergo a 30-day scrutiny process, he explained.

Around 10,000 taxis with capacity for up to seven people could sign up for the program and be available in Bangkok, the minister added.

Taxis will be classified into three different vehicle types, ranging from small taxi cars to large taxi vans.

Fares for the cheapest taxi option will start at 40-45 baht. After the first two kilometers, taxi drivers will be able to charge between 6 and 10 baht for each additional kilometre.

Mid-range taxis can charge 45-50 baht for the first two kilometers with 7-12 baht per extra kilometre.

For larger taxis, the pick-up fee will be 100-150 baht for the first two kilometers. After that, taxi drivers can charge 12-16 baht for each additional kilometre.

Authorities reportedly took some measures to avoid price gouging, including the 20-baht-limit on charges for hailing to order or flag down the taxi.

Moreover, fees for waiting or idling for traffic have been stipulated at 2 baht per minute.

Under the ministry’s new plan, public vehicles will be given priority first and eco-friendly vehicles second when a user requests a ride through a taxi hailing app.

Officials expect motorcycle taxis will join the new program soon.

Companies that want to register to get the permit must meet other requirements.

Mr. Saksayam said that they must all have a registered capital of more than 5 million baht. Besides, companies must be qualified within Thailand and operate 24 hours a day.

Providers should never have gotten their GPS permits revoked if they plan to sing up successfully, he went on.

Some leading local businesses have already shown interest and qualify for the program despite its restrictions. Those are Robinhood (Purpil Venture Co), GrabTaxi, Lineman, Delivery Hero/Food Panda and Velox Digital (Gojek).