The ongoing war for many months between Uber drivers and ordinary taxi drivers in Pattaya has become the topic of an emergency meeting in one of the city police stations in Pattaya. The last straw in this difficult confrontation was a public brawl between the drivers of the usual yellow taxi in Pattaya and a representative of the Uber service. The fight was recorded by eyewitnesses in the video and later laid out on Youtube, and after the video was demonstrated in the media. Present at the meeting, transport officials, employees of the Pattaya City Hall, representatives of the military, the police and was approved the new rules of taxi services in Pattaya.
First, Uber drivers are completely forbidden to work in Pattaya. Each identified fact of paying a taxi, which was ordered through mobile application Uber, will be the reason for a fine from the driver of 2,000 Thai baht (almost 60 USD). In addition, the driver of the Uber service, who risks working in Pattaya, will be deprived of a driving license for three months. Thus, this is bad news for Uber, because such strict measures should lead to the fact that no one should be tempted to work as a driver of this service in Pattaya.
Secondly, Manot Carnvatanasin, who oversees transportation issues in Chonburi province (in whose territory Pattaya is located), without hesitation expressing himself very harshly spoke about the enmity of the drivers of the Uber service and the drivers of the traditional taxi in Pattaya. The latter were strictly forbidden to take any active action against the drivers of Uber. Any attempt to cause physical or material damage will be severely punished without any indulgence. The only thing they have to do in case someone is suspected of working for Uber in Pattaya is to report to the competent authorities for an inspection (control rides are possible).
Thirdly, representatives of taxi companies present at the meeting were confronted with the fact that they needed to equip cars with meters (taximeters) in the shortest possible time, and serious penalties were also provided for the violators of this rule. In the near future, it becomes clear what the effectiveness of the measures taken at the meeting and whether they allowed to resolve the conflict situation between the drivers. As for tourists, for them the lack of an alternative in the form of Uber service in Pattaya will not be the most pleasant news, because the fare when using the service was several times lower than when using ordinary city taxis.
This was the essence of the problem – local taxi drivers expressed dissatisfaction with the ever-increasing competition from Uber drivers, whose low rates deprived taxi drivers of their usual income level. If the plans of local authorities become a reality and a taxi in Pattaya will go by the taximeter, it will only benefit the passengers – both local residents and tourists. Also, it is not yet clear whether the rule of compulsory use of the meter will apply when traveling outside the city, for example, to Bangkok airport. Currently, tourists often use international service Kiwitaxi for transfers to airport, where they can book a car of any class in advance, negotiate with taxi drivers personally, desperately bargaining, or book a taxi to the airport at special racks in the city or in hotels at a fixed price.
Also from September 1, 2017 taxi drivers and songthaew drivers in Pattaya were forbidden to use parking facilities at shopping centers and hotels for customers’ expectation. In the event of a violation of this rule, drivers face confiscation of the vehicle for up to seven days.
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