Bangkok motorbike taxi drivers protest ride hailing startups

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GoBike protest in Bangkok © Arno Maierbrugger

Hundreds of motorbike drivers staged a street protest on May 17 in downtown Bangkok in front of the office of GoBike, a Thai motorbike hailing company modeled after large ride-hailing brands such as GrabBike or Go-Jek.

The company, which entered the market two years ago, has since been in the center of criticism by traditional motorbike drivers, who accuse GoBike drivers of circumventing regulations such as obtaining a special motorbike taxi license.

“The don’t have a regular motorbike taxi license, they just use a motorbike and a smartphone which is illegal,” one driver told Investvine at the spot.

At the protest, a civil police or government car with tinted windows was seen driving away form the office building’s parking space, indicating that they might have detained someone from the company.

GoBike was created by the Motorcycle Taxi Thailand Association and received funding from the private sector. The homegrown brand came on the market as a government-approved alternative – after GrabBike and UberMoto where banned by the junta in 2016, but GrabBike relaunched  soon after – as a legal application for Bangkok’s 100,000 registered drivers. The official regulation is that all GoBike drivers must be registered with the Department of Land Transport which issues a special driving license with an orange strip across it.

However, reportedly not many regular motortaxi drivers joined the company after its launch. The GoBike fare is calculated by the standard rate of normal drivers, with prices starting at 20 baht. The price is set before the ride, preventing overcharging.

Update: There was also a protest in front of the office of GrabBike on Petchaburi Road on that day.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

GoBike protest in Bangkok © Arno Maierbrugger

Hundreds of motorbike drivers staged a street protest on May 17 in downtown Bangkok in front of the office of GoBike, a Thai motorbike hailing company modeled after large ride-hailing brands such as GrabBike or Go-Jek.

Reading Time: 1 minute

GoBike protest in Bangkok © Arno Maierbrugger

Hundreds of motorbike drivers staged a street protest on May 17 in downtown Bangkok in front of the office of GoBike, a Thai motorbike hailing company modeled after large ride-hailing brands such as GrabBike or Go-Jek.

The company, which entered the market two years ago, has since been in the center of criticism by traditional motorbike drivers, who accuse GoBike drivers of circumventing regulations such as obtaining a special motorbike taxi license.

“The don’t have a regular motorbike taxi license, they just use a motorbike and a smartphone which is illegal,” one driver told Investvine at the spot.

At the protest, a civil police or government car with tinted windows was seen driving away form the office building’s parking space, indicating that they might have detained someone from the company.

GoBike was created by the Motorcycle Taxi Thailand Association and received funding from the private sector. The homegrown brand came on the market as a government-approved alternative – after GrabBike and UberMoto where banned by the junta in 2016, but GrabBike relaunched  soon after – as a legal application for Bangkok’s 100,000 registered drivers. The official regulation is that all GoBike drivers must be registered with the Department of Land Transport which issues a special driving license with an orange strip across it.

However, reportedly not many regular motortaxi drivers joined the company after its launch. The GoBike fare is calculated by the standard rate of normal drivers, with prices starting at 20 baht. The price is set before the ride, preventing overcharging.

Update: There was also a protest in front of the office of GrabBike on Petchaburi Road on that day.

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