Uber has vowed to help to its driver partners in Thailand if they face legal action from authorities.
“We stand ready to assist driver partners through a variety of Uber support channels,” Amy Kunrojpanya, director of policy and communications for Uber in Asia Pacific, told The Nation.
The channels include hotline and in-app support using the Uber app. She said assistance would be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Uber has responded to the recent dispute between the firm and authorities over moves to legalise the ride-sharing service in Thailand.
The California-based company has rejected a demand from authorities that it suspend its operations in Thailand until a study into legalising its operations is completed. The study is expected to take between six and 12 months.
Authorities threatened to take legal action against drivers working for Uber if they continued operating without waiting for the results of the study.
Concerning the legal action Uber’s drivers may face and the possibility its driver-partner numbers may decline in Thailand as a result, Amy said the firm had received strong support from Uber community in the Kingdom.
“We appreciate that [the support] … Today we are still seeing new drivers sign up to drive using the Uber app, and new riders taking their first trips,” she said.
Amy said ride sharing served an important and unmet need in Thailand.
Asked if Uber will suspend its operation nationwide while waiting for the result of the study as requested, she said: “Uber is committed to serving riders and driver partners in Thailand who rely on our services every day; to working with the relevant government agencies to formally recognise ridesharing, which is currently unregulated, through regulatory reform.”
She said Uber was pleased the government had agreed to conducting independent third party research into ride-sharing regulations and the benefitted they brought to Thailand, as they had in so many other countries in the region.
However, she said Uber was looking forward to a speedy resolution.
Uber representatives met with the Ministry of Transport and the Department of Land Transport on Monday after the DLT stepped up the crackdown on Uber drivers on the grounds that they were violating the law by using non-registered vehicles as taxis.
The crackdown came after registered taxi drivers put pressure on authorities to take action against the ride-sharing service, including calling for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to exercise his absolute power afforded him under Article 44 of the interim constitution to solve the problem.