US-based ride-hailing service Uber has announced it will expand its service to Chiang Mai, despite the service being deemed illegal under Thai law.
Uber on Monday began piloting an expansion of its mobile application-based taxi hailing service in Chiang Mai hoping to attract more passengers to the service, said a source.
Along with the announcement about providing their service in Chiang Mai, Uber is also offering a special promotion in which a passenger is promised a 75 baht credit on rides if he or she recommends the service to a friend, said the source. The friend will also get a 75 baht credit.
The source added that a 150 baht single-rate promotion is also being offered by Uber for a round trip to and from the airport.Additionally, a round trip to and from Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai’s main tourist attraction, is being offered at 250 baht.
Other promotions for travelling within Chiang Mai range between 50 to 70 baht, according to the source.
All passengers have to do if they want to ride with Uber is to download the Uber taxi-hailing application on their mobile phones, the source said. Payment for the service can be made by either credit card or in cash, the source added.
Authorities at the Department of Land Transport have said it would launch a crackdown on the illegal service.
“If caught delivering the illegal service, [drivers] of the Uber cars will face an immediate fine by the Department of Land Transport. We will launch sting operations to crack down on the service,” said Sanit Phromwong, director-general of the department.
Uber is deemed illegal because privately owned vehicles and drivers without public driving licences are used to deliver services to customers, he said.
The department is working together with local land transport authorities in Chiang Mai who are keeping a look-out for marketing activities Uber may be carrying out to launch its service in the province.
Previously, the department had received reports about marketing activities by Uber being conducted in public such as at some department stores in Bangkok, he said.