Bangkok: Thailand on Tuesday ordered US online taxi booking company Uber to cease operations immediately for improperly using cars and unregistered drivers, a day after the firm was barred in New Delhi over the alleged rape incident in a taxi plying for it.
"They have to stop operations immediately," Director- General of Department of Land Transport Thiraphong Rodprasert told reporters after meeting officials from Uber and rival firm GrabTaxi and EasyTaxi to discuss regulating Internet taxi services.
Uber -- which operates the premium Uber Black limousine-like service and the discounted Uber X service which competes directly with taxis in Bangkok and Phuket -- bills itself as an on-demand transportation provider.
Rides are booked through smartphone applications or the Internet and paid only via credit card.
The firm was improperly using cars with green-lettered license plates -- similar to airport limousines -- and personal vehicles with black-lettered plates, Thiraphong was quoted by the Bangkok Post as saying on Friday.
The drivers were using the cars in a manner contrary to that stated in their registration. He said the drivers were illegally operating by not charging approved rates.
Thiraphong further said drivers did not hold required public-transport drivers licences and were not registered in a database of public-vehicle drivers.
Thailand's Transport department today reaffirmed its earlier decision holding Uber taxi as operating illegally in the country but said it preferred not to call it a ban.
Thiraphong said that private black plate vehicles are not allowed to ply as taxis because the drivers are not registered for public transport.
The transport department had on Friday launched a crackdown on Uber drivers, saying those stopped by police could be fined 2,000 baht (4000 rupees) for using the wrong vehicle, 1,000 baht for not charging approved fares and 1,000 baht for not having a public-vehicle driver's license.
The department further objected to the credit card-only method of payment in Thailand, citing concerns about transaction security.
In Southeast Asia, Indonesia has raised questions over Uber's tax payments and Malaysia's Road Transport Department has warned the users that they would not be covered by insurance if they were involved in a crash.
Singapore, meanwhile, has announced the implementation of new rules for third-party taxi booking apps, including Uber and GrabTaxi.
All operations by private cab service Uber were banned in New Delhi yesterday and it was blacklisted from providing any transport service in the wake of the alleged rape incident in a taxi plying for it.
The action came after a taxi driver employed by Uber was arrested from Mathura for allegedly raping a 27-year-old woman executive in his cab.