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Bangkok Taxi Drivers Have Only Themselves To Blame For The Rise Of Uber


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Bangkok Taxi Drivers Have Only Themselves To Blame For The Rise Of Uber

Derek Hopper 

 

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Featured image is by m-louis .® (CC BY-SA 2.0 licence)

 

I have had some bad experiences with Thai cabs.

 

On Vibhavadi Rangsit road a driver saw red and I watched helplessly from the back seat as he overtook cars at insane speeds in order to give someone a piece of his mind. I’ve been refused fares countless times.

 

Down on Phuket and Samui I’ve been told a 3km drive costs 500 baht because a cartel runs the show.

 

I once got in a cab on Ladprao road (north Bangkok) and asked to be taken to Bang Khae (west Bangkok) and when I looked up from my book thirty minutes later was on the road to Suvarnabhumi (east Bangkok). It was the driver’s first day on the job.

 

So it was with some consternation that I read Thai authorities are cracking down on ridesharing apps like Uber. The director-general of the Land Transport Department said Uber is “destroying the public transport system in the area”.

 

This statement is telling, because if anything is being destroyed it’s the patience of Bangkokians who are no longer willing to put up with the shoddy service of the status quo. After all, consumers aren’t fools and tend to avoid patronising poor services.

 

For the authorities, it seems, the public transport system doesn’t exist to serve the public, the public exists to serve the transport system.

 

This week some London-based friends of mine were in Thailand. When I met them in the UK last summer we travelled almost everywhere in Uber cars. It was my first time to use such a service and I was astonished by the convenience of it all. Cars were spotless and punctual, drivers supremely professional. The absence of cash and the sheer efficiency of the whole thing was thrilling, like we had arrived in the future.

 

I didn’t realise until after those Uber experiences in London how frustrating relying on taxis in Bangkok can be.

 

While in Bangkok this week my friends used Uber around ten times. Every experience was flawless. On their first morning in the city they made three attempts to organise transport from Asok, where their hotel was. 

 

Full story: https://whatsonsukhumvit.com/bangkok-taxi-drivers-have-only-themselves-to-blame-for-the-rise-of-uber/

 
-- What's on Sukhumvit 2017-05-01
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I agree entirely. If the taxis provided a good service, used their meters, were polite and drove well, Uber would find it very difficult to gain a foothold.

Buy as you rightly point out, many taxi companies are run by Mafia, who don't want Uber driving off with the golden egg. I expect Uber to have continuing problems with authorities, who will no doubt be being pressured by such firms. Almost a dozen cops turned up to arrest one Uber driver in Pattaya a week ago when the taxis complained.

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Horse poop.

 

Uber's rising all over the world, even places where taxis use the meters, drive sanely and don't cheat.  Blaming the drivers is a little disingenuous.  

 

In BKK, I blame an archaic system of licensing, fees and fare structures here that almost force the drivers cheat to make a decent living.  Which is all part of a culture of corruption and entitlement for the haves, at the expense of the other 99.5% of the Thai people.  

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as regards to licences etc, drivers are not checked out at all, look at the double rapist allowed to drive a taxi  and the abusive lady driver who did not even have a licence. i was driven downtown by a guy who had just served 7 years for murdering his girlfriend, wow he was spooky. giving us all the details

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Several Thai female friends of mine refuse to use the mafia run taxis..citing constant hassles with the drivers...mainly sexual overtones/suggestions in lieu of paying the fare....etc etc. Instead they use Uber...quick check on the Uber app..driver calls back minutes later...pickup/dropoff door to door....taxi fare given and agreed too via the app........

 

Versus.....(need I say more)....the double rapist comes to mind..... the longer the authorities take to vet and check the background of some of these mongrols currently driving the "other" taxis in and around BKK....the more folk will opt to use Uber.....but they just don't get it....instead they choose to make Uber jump through hoops to operate an excellent service....on the pretence that Uber is  “destroying the public transport system in the area”......destroying it????......No..enhancing and improving it

 

 

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3 hours ago, impulse said:

Horse poop.

 

Uber's rising all over the world, even places where taxis use the meters, drive sanely and don't cheat.  Blaming the drivers is a little disingenuous.  

 

In BKK, I blame an archaic system of licensing, fees and fare structures here that almost force the drivers cheat to make a decent living.  Which is all part of a culture of corruption and entitlement for the haves, at the expense of the other 99.5% of the Thai people.  

 

"Almost force the drivers to cheat and make a decent living"... .... >>> then why are some Taxi's OK ?

 

No one forced the Taxi drivers to cheat, drive dangerously, remove rear seatbelts, refuse fares... 

 

Taxi drivers only have themselves to blame for their sense of entitlement which leads to such behavior.

 

Competition is required...  UBER brings this, as does ALL THAI TAXI....  

 

Grab Taxi is also an option... 

 

I don't wish to see UBER corner the market, as that will lead to issues with UBER and a possible increase in charges etc... But I do like to see UBER bring a better, viable alternative which I hope is a wakeup call for the Taxi industry. 

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22 minutes ago, KIWIBATCH said:

Several Thai female friends of mine refuse to use the mafia run taxis..citing constant hassles with the drivers...mainly sexual overtones/suggestions in lieu of paying the fare....etc etc. Instead they use Uber...quick check on the Uber app..driver calls back minutes later...pickup/dropoff door to door....taxi fare given and agreed too via the app........

 

Versus.....(need I say more)....the double rapist comes to mind..... the longer the authorities take to vet and check the background of some of these mongrols currently driving the "other" taxis in and around BKK....the more folk will opt to use Uber.....but they just don't get it....instead they choose to make Uber jump through hoops to operate an excellent service....on the pretence that Uber is  “destroying the public transport system in the area”......destroying it????......No..enhancing and improving it

 

 

 

Indeed - Along with many other females I know, my Wife has always refused to take a Taxi alone after dark...  It's simply too dangerous for them. The risk of a sexual attack is simply too much. 

 

Taxi drivers in general have no accountability. 

 

I do like the UBER and GRAB system which had a 'double accountability' both the passenger and driver are registered. This also makes it safer for the drivers too. 

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'I will admit ... I ... think they are due a raise.' Not until the DLT does its long overdue job of addressing the problem drivers. 

 

 

'For years meter taxi drivers have been busy making their bed. Only now are they realising what it’s like to lie in it.' The problem is, the DLT has no idea; and little idea about having no idea. Otherwise, there would long ago have been resolution of the issue.

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4 hours ago, impulse said:

Horse poop.

 

Uber's rising all over the world, even places where taxis use the meters, drive sanely and don't cheat.  Blaming the drivers is a little disingenuous.  

 

In BKK, I blame an archaic system of licensing, fees and fare structures here that almost force the drivers cheat to make a decent living.  Which is all part of a culture of corruption and entitlement for the haves, at the expense of the other 99.5% of the Thai people.  

BS! The taxi drivers aren't being blamed for Uber; they ARE being blamed, rightly, for Uber offering a better alternative.

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The latest attempts to convince the public that the government is cracking down on taxi drivers seems to fall on deaf taxi driver ears. They continue to reject passengers  as I observed Saturday. Leaving JJ Market I was refused by seven taxis and finally just headed for the MRT with my arm full of packages. I also encountered several taxis that had fast running meters. When confronted the drivers just stopped and told me to pay and get out. I use the BTS and MRT much more now to avoid taxis.

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4 hours ago, mercman24 said:

as regards to licences etc, drivers are not checked out at all, look at the double rapist allowed to drive a taxi  and the abusive lady driver who did not even have a licence. i was driven downtown by a guy who had just served 7 years for murdering his girlfriend, wow he was spooky. giving us all the details

What a fascinating journey though! Only in Thailand perhaps!

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54 minutes ago, Jonmarleesco said:

'I will admit ... I ... think they are due a raise.' Not until the DLT does its long overdue job of addressing the problem drivers. 

 

 

'For years meter taxi drivers have been busy making their bed. Only now are they realising what it’s like to lie in it.' The problem is, the DLT has no idea; and little idea about having no idea. Otherwise, there would long ago have been resolution of the issue.

 

I like the Seoul model.  Different prices for different grades of taxi.  Get in a clapped out old Corolla, and you pay less than a brand new SUV crossover.  That's an incentive for drivers to keep their cars up to date instead of driving them until the wheels fall off.  Keeping in mind that most of the taxis never get cold as they're passed from shift to shift.

 

Or, do what Uber does and program the meters to offer surge pricing if you're on Sukhumvit when it takes an hour to drive a mile.

 

How hard would it be to require meters on all taxis- even out in the boondocks?  Yet, we rarely (never?) see metered taxis outside of BKK.

 

Easy to make sure the driver is legal by building fingerprint scanners (and breathalyzers) into the meters- and track speed and driving habits with GPS and accelerometers.  

 

But that's all got to come from the government, and they only seem interested in keeping the Elite happy.  And the Elite don't take taxis- they just rake in their cut.  So I don't blame the drivers.  I blame the archaic and corrupt system they operate within.

 

Edited by impulse
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I'm a great fan of Uber which I used a lot in Johannesburg. Taxis, which charge ZAR 65 minimum for a short distance complain bitterly because Uber charges ZAR 20 for same ride. All over the world, taxi drivers complain and want Uber banned. Too much competition. Uber uses mobile app to call a cab. I never waited more than 3 or 4 minutes for one to arrive. New technology obsoletes old network.

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For the authorities, it seems, the public transport system doesn’t exist to serve the public, the public exists to serve the transport system.

 

 

Correct. I agree with this post. The Thais are Thais and mostly they don't realise it: they have only themselves to blame.

 

I hope have been in LOS for over ten years and have learned TIT.  (This Is Thailand). Lack of service over here means that for the most part only the Chinese are likely to return.

 

For some years I have been saying that, over here now, "Thais provide a facility, not a service".  There is a very important difference, which mostly Thais do not understand.

 

 

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44 minutes ago, pennine said:

I'm a great fan of Uber which I used a lot in Johannesburg. Taxis, which charge ZAR 65 minimum for a short distance complain bitterly because Uber charges ZAR 20 for same ride. All over the world, taxi drivers complain and want Uber banned. Too much competition. Uber uses mobile app to call a cab. I never waited more than 3 or 4 minutes for one to arrive. New technology obsoletes old network.

 

How much do the local drivers pay for their hack shields vs how much do Uber drivers pay for theirs?  It's not the new technology that gives them an advantage.  It's dodging the taxes.

 

Edit:  People love and praise Uber's business model just like they loved and praised Napster's.  Who doesn't like cheaper rides, nicer wheels, and free music?

Edited by impulse
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Yesterday evening around midnight tying to take a taxi from Asok to Fortune Town. I was just too late for the MRT.

It took me more than one hour to get a cab. Getting refused or asking prices from 400 to 500 Baht for a 40 THB trip. 

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10 minutes ago, FredNL said:

Yesterday evening around midnight tying to take a taxi from Asok to Fortune Town. I was just too late for the MRT.

It took me more than one hour to get a cab. Getting refused or asking prices from 400 to 500 Baht for a 40 THB trip. 

 

Yep - I've had this issue many times... I Always rely on Uber... 

 

However, the other day I thought, I'll just try the taxi's again...... I got in, speaking Thai I asked to be sent to my location, the driver replied that it was so close and asked why didn't I take a motorcycle? I replied that I didn't want to, its too dangerous to take a motorcycle.... 

 

The taxi complained all the way home... he complained himself out of a decent tip...  then huffed when I gave him 60 baht for a 45 baht journey...  after that I nearly demanded change... 

 

The issue I have - Why should a simple trip home result in any form of unnecessary sour feeling or stress ???  IMO many of these guys behave like pigs.... In Thailand the Taxi's are the best marketing Campaign UBER have !!!!

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16 minutes ago, FredNL said:

Yesterday evening around midnight tying to take a taxi from Asok to Fortune Town. I was just too late for the MRT.

It took me more than one hour to get a cab. Getting refused or asking prices from 400 to 500 Baht for a 40 THB trip. 

 

Uber would just call that surge pricing and nobody seems to mind when they do it.

 

(And yes, I am taking the piss, but the point is valid that Uber drivers don't have to follow the same legal fee structure)

 

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Any kind of competition for these horrible rip off merchants is a blessing IMO, had the same experience in Malaysia as well using the normal taxis. Old vehicles, rude drivers and high prices. Started to use the grab taxi app ( Not uber but same principle) and the cars were clean, new, turned up on time and you can track the car coming, all the drivers were polite and you know the fare before you accept the car. The prices on average were 1/3rd of the normal taxis which refused to turn on the meters.
All in all my experience was identical to the Thai routine which I go through regularly, the only time they use the meters here from Suvarnabhumi is late at night when the fares are much higher. Just hope that the app based services grow and expand. Post 20 hit it on the head saying that the taxis here are the other services best advertising, dont really understand this constant need to try to rip people off on a day to day basis, but, there is very little forward thinking as mentioned elsewhere quite often

Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk

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I don't believe it!

 

Worldwide Uber has been a nightmare for both drivers and passengers.

 

Uber is a hate creator in my opinion.  Ask anyone in the taxi business.

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7 hours ago, Kabula said:

Worldwide Uber has been a nightmare for both drivers and passengers.

 

Uber is a hate creator in my opinion.  Ask anyone in the taxi business.

I know what I think of the meter taxi industry in Bangkok... It's overall terrible for all the reasons mentioned above. Yes there are good and decent and safe drivers, but there certainly appears to be far too large a percentage of problem drivers in that group. And certainly no meaningful enforcement by the DLT.

 

But i really don't know what to think about UBER.

 

On one hand, I've been using them lately for both taxi services and their new UBER Eats restaurant meals delivery service in Bangkok, and the performance, politeness and overall service of all the UBER drivers I've encountered has been first-rate. And the UBER cars have been in very good condition as well.

 

However, try finding a phone number or an email address to contact UBER customer service either for the company overall or for just its Bangkok operation. Pretty much impossible, though they do have Twitter and LINE app contacts.  In particular, read the Wiki profile on the San Francisco-based company, and there's quite a lot of dirty stuff that's been alleged about those in charge of the company. And some media reports, as quoted in the Wiki profile, refer to the company as having an "xxxhole culture" that promotes aggression, backstabbing, and duplicity. That said, I have no idea of how its Bangkok operation is or isn't related to the main corporation.

 

From a rider's perspective, there have been lots of reports elsewhere of safety and crime issues with UBER drivers in various other countries, which raises questions about whether they really do any better job of vetting their drivers. But as far as I have heard here in Bangkok, the overall customer opinion seems to be pretty good -- perhaps because it doesn't take much to easily outshine the often lousy service provided by the government-licensed meter taxis.

 

Edited by TallGuyJohninBKK
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15 hours ago, impulse said:

 

How much do the local drivers pay for their hack shields vs how much do Uber drivers pay for theirs?  It's not the new technology that gives them an advantage.  It's dodging the taxes.

 

Edit:  People love and praise Uber's business model just like they loved and praised Napster's.  Who doesn't like cheaper rides, nicer wheels, and free music?

"Its dodging the taxes"  Who? The taxi drivers, Uber drivers or both? :whistling:

 

I have come across a number of good taxi drivers but too many bad ones also. Why the difference?

Perhaps the good ones just do a decent job regularly and the "poor attitude" bad ones are just looking to rip off people where and if they can. That mentality leads to bad service and shoddy looking cabs (some without seatbelts in the rear) - in the meantime the DLT and Police really cannot be bothered enforcing anything!

 

Leadership always starts from the top! If the "entitled" (powerful/rich/connected) don't care, then no one else will either.

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A game changer in a different league in the Pattaya - Jomtien area whee there is no MRT or BTS and cab and Baht bus drama that is as nasty as it gets . Uber has changed everything in ways it's hard to convey but I love in Bangkok also . Now no reason to own a car when you can be driven with no problems or liability .

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As I mentioned above, I too have had nothing but first-rate service from Uber with their taxi trips in BKK.

 

But let's not get carried away.. If you read their long profile in Wikipedia, they've certainly had their share of driver/safety problems in other countries.... not to mention A LOT of problems with the people behind the company itself. UBER (the U.S. HQ of the company) is hardly a poster child for good corporate governance.

 

As for liability, I assume you mean the peace of mind of not having driver liability in Thailand when you're riding as a passenger. But the flip side of that coin is what kind of liability does Uber have if you the passenger are in some way injured. Apparently, UBER's corporate position is that UBER drivers are all independent contractors as opposed to employees -- though some jurisdictions elsewhere have apparently challenged that interpretation.

 

 

Edited by TallGuyJohninBKK
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On 5/1/2017 at 4:44 PM, impulse said:

 

How much do the local drivers pay for their hack shields vs how much do Uber drivers pay for theirs?  It's not the new technology that gives them an advantage.  It's dodging the taxes.

 

Edit:  People love and praise Uber's business model just like they loved and praised Napster's.  Who doesn't like cheaper rides, nicer wheels, and free music?

Many  people hate Uber's business model. Search online and you will find that Uber is pretty consistently vilified for it's treatment of it's drivers. What they like is Uber's convenience and prices. As a customer I love Uber but really dislike it as a corporation. 

 

They are an exploitive company that is disruptive yet offer very good customer service. Their ultimate goal which is no great secret is to let their drivers pay most of the expense of doing their business until they can get rid of them with autonomous vehicles. 

 

Edited by anotheruser
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