The Land Transport Department is planning to propose the use of Article 44 of the interrim charter to close the Uber app as well as other ride-sharing apps.
Deputy director-general Nanthapong Cherdchu said a sting operation on Monday in Bangkok had led to 18 Uber drivers being nabbed and each was fined Bt2,000.
He said the agency must try to make Thais understand that the use of Uber was illegal and if any accident happened, a customer would receive less protection under the law. He called for improvement of the Thai taxi service to make them more attractive to users. "We may need a stronger medicine; we might propose the use of Article 44 to close this [Uber] app, as it is destroying the public transport system in the area," he added.
In the northern province of Chiang Mai, there was a conflict between Uber-Grab car drivers and the "Red Car" Songthaew drivers - the latter had recently joined provincial land transport officials to launch a sting operation to catch and fine the app-affiliated drivers.
Meanwhile, a Chiang Mai-based consumer campaign was launched on March 3 to gather signatures via the website Change.org for a petition, which will be submitted to the Land Transport Department, calling for regulation and improvement in the quality of the "Red Car" service and to oppose the arrest of Uber-Grab car drivers. So far, 8,315 supporters have signed this online petition out of 10,000 needed.