Grab sees po­ten­tial boost af­ter Thai elec­tion

Business Standard - - WORLD - NATNICHA CHUWIRUCH

Grab hopes Thai­land’s up­com­ing gen­eral elec­tion will help re­vive the con­ver­sa­tion about le­gal­is­ing ride shar­ing in the coun­try.

Talks about re­form­ing the law can be put back on the ta­ble once an elected gov­ern­ment is in place, Tarin Thaniyavarn, the head of Grab in Thai­land, said in an in­ter­view.

The mil­i­tary gov­ern­ment in power since a coup in 2014 has ten­ta­tively sched­uled a gen­eral elec­tion for Fe­bru­ary 24.

“The topic of le­gal­iza­tion should not be si­lenced like in the last three years any­more,” Tarin, 34, said in Bangkok.

Thai­land and Myan­mar are the only two coun­tries in South­east Asia where ride-shar­ing is still il­le­gal, ac­cord­ing to the Sin­ga­porean firm.

Grab still op­er­ates in Thai­land, but the au­thor­i­ties pe­ri­od­i­cally use sting op­er­a­tions to crack down on driv­ers, who also face the risk of ha­rass­ment by li­censed taxi op­er­a­tors.

Le­gali­sa­tion would elim­i­nate these con­cerns, en­abling Grab to add more driv­ers, Tarin said. He plans to stress to an elected gov­ern­ment that ride-shar­ing can help re­duce Bangkok’s traf­fic prob­lems.

The city on some mea­sures is Asia’s most con­gested.

“One full-time Grab car equals four cars go­ing out,” Tarin said. “This sys­tem works, es­pe­cially for the world we are in to­day.”

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