Vientiane Authorities Propose Shutdown of Two Taxi Apps Over Regulatory Concern

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Vientiane Authorities Propose Shutdown of Two Taxi Apps Over Regulatory Concern
FILE: a man calling a taxi via a phone application (photo: Vista Create)

The Department of Public Works and Transport in Vientiane Capital has recommended to the government the closure of popular taxi applications, In-Drive and Sam Laos, citing non-compliance with regulations and safety concerns.

The proposal, issued on 13 March, alleges the lack of an enterprise registration certificate and transportation permit for the two services, making their operations illegal. Additionally, the apps were criticized for being “unsafe” and “untrustworthy,” as passengers have no means to contact the companies in case of accidents or crimes.

In-Drive, which started operations in Laos without a clear timeline, is known for its unique feature that allows passengers to negotiate prices with drivers digitally. However, despite its international presence and popularity, it may now face closure in the country.

Sam Laos, established in 2022, claims to have the necessary permits, but the Department of Public Works and Transport disputes this claim. The service currently operates only in Vientiane Capital.

The proposal has been forwarded to the Ministry of Technology and Communications and the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation for further review and consideration. While no official decision has been announced, the fate of these services remains uncertain.

The future of In-Drive and Sam Laos hangs in the balance as the Lao government weighs the proposal to shut them down. Their closure would not only impact the convenience of taxi services but also serve as a reminder of the importance of complying with local regulations in the transportation industry.