Latest in Culture

Image credit: Azqa Harun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Uber's experimental service in Bangkok hails motorcyles

The company wants of a piece of the growing motorcycle taxi industry in Asia.
Azqa Harun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

In Bangkok, Thailand, people can fire up Uber and summon motorbikes instead of cars. The San Francisco company has kicked off an experimental service called UberMoto in the Asian capital, according to The Wall Street Journal. Motorcycle taxis are a popular mode of transportation in various Asian countries, including China, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, India and Indonesia. A lot of people choose to ride them, because they're small and can easily slip in between cars and bigger vehicles in the middle of a traffic jam.

In some places, people can find them lined up and ready to take them anywhere they want. But more recently, commuters have been able to hail them via apps like Grab Bike, which will be one of UberMoto's biggest rivals if it ever ventures outside Bangkok. Grab (formerly called GrabTaxi) is owned by a Singaporean company that's a known associate of Lyft is backed by Chinese Uber rival Didi Kuaidi.

A spokesperson told the WSJ that UberMoto already has thousands of motorbike drivers, but a wider rollout is still up in the air. He said the company is still "looking at [its] applicability" in emerging markets. In other words, the service has to do well in Bangkok before the company brings it elsewhere. He didn't elaborate on how UberMoto operates -- the WSJ did say that it accepts cash and credit cards, though -- but we hope that the company has imposed a strict limit on how many passengers are allowed. This editor has personally seen as many as six people on a single motorcycle taxi (seriously), and it was an anxiety-inducing moment.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr