Bangkok motorcycle taxi drivers and taxi drivers today burned their orange safety vests in protest against the Ministry of Transport’s decision to extend GrabBike drivers license for another 2 months.
The company announced last week that each of its Grab riders must register as a public transport operator and change their license plates from white to yellow if they want to continue as a taxi driver.
Grab has informed its partners that this change has been made in accordance with the latest order from the Ministry of Land Transport. A white license plate is used on a personal car and a private vehicle cannot be used to transport people for profit.
GrabBike riders affected by the changes protested the decision even though they have an additional 2 months. They say the decision came too early to comply with the new laws. Many passengers added that they will have no income while processing their new license and fear being kicked out of the transport service due to the limited number of commercial or yellow plates.
A campaign to recover the old rules for GrabBike riders has been launched on the change.org site. The campaign said there was no justice for runners.
The campaign host added that GrabBike generates additional income for people and provides safer and better transportation services. Moreover, the platform is acceptable in other countries.
Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchop said last Saturday that GrabBike’s deadline had been extended to September 13 for those wishing to register for a yellow plate.
The extension sparked outrage from a group of motorcyclists and taxi drivers.
Motorcycle taxi drivers, under the umbrella of the Motorcycle Taxi Association of Thailand, and some taxi drivers gathered outside the Ministry of Transport and burned their orange safety vests and blue taxi driver shirts to protest against the extension of the deadline.
The association’s president, Santi Patiparnrat, said the government has extended the deadline for the benefit of the private sector, Grab, even though the company violates Thai laws.
“What the government has done is encourage motorcycles and drivers with white plates. The company has already existed for 8 years. It is time for the Ministry of Transport to clarify things.
Transport Ministry Permanent Secretary Sooksomruay Wanthaneekun told the media that the ministry recognizes the problem and will find a solution that will benefit both parties.