Grab pins ride-sharing reform hopes on Thai elections

FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a Grab office in Singapore March 26, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

Grab hopes Thailand’s upcoming general election will help revive the conversation about legalizing 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 Feb. 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.

Legalization 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.”

Bloomberg

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.