Uber has launched a motorbike service in Thailand, marking the first time that the company has offered rides on two-wheeled vehicles. The service, called UberMOTO, launches today as a pilot program in Bangkok. In a press release announcing the pilot, Uber said the new service is aimed at cities in emerging markets where traffic congestion is particularly severe.
For Bangkok users, UberMOTO will be available as another option on the Uber app, and it operates just like its traditional car services. Each motorcycle driver will have to pass the same background checks as car chauffeurs, and will be obliged to provide helmets for their passengers. The rides will be available at a base rate of ฿10 ($0.28), plus ฿3.5 a kilometer ($0.10) and ฿0.85 a minute ($0.02). Users can choose to pay in cash or credit card.
Uber says it chose to launch its program in Bangkok because motorbikes are already a popular form of transportation there, and because of the city's notorious traffic problems. Uber has previously launched similar experiments in emerging markets, most notably in India, where it announced an auto rickshaw service in April 2015. That effort did not go so well; the service was shuttered just eight months later.