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“Covid Vaccine ✔️” signs for vaccinated taxi drivers

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Smart Taxis will now have Covid-19 Vaccine signs. (via Smart Taxi)
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At a time when customers are hard to find, some taxis are getting a boost by advertising their Covid-19 safety with a “Vaccine” sign for any cabbie who’s had their jabs. The illuminated green LED sign is the brainchild of Smart Taxi managing director, who believes that this confirmation will make commuters and passengers feel more safe and secure. He also thinks it will incentivise taxi drivers who have not yet gotten their jabs to get vaccinated right away.

And he may be right, as early results from the newly launched program saw increased ridership of the taxis with vaccine signs, bringing their earnings up to 600 baht a day. To qualify, taxi drivers have to show their official vaccine certificate to Smart Taxi. They will then be added to a database maintained by the Department of Land Transport.

The program is very small now, as the majority of taxi drivers in Thailand have only gotten one dose of the two-jab vaccination if they have any at all. But the first 2 drivers to be fully vaccinated launched May 24 and are happy with the results so far, saying that their passengers seem more confident and that the vaccine signs themselves are attracting attention and bringing in more riders.

The signs in bright green replace the “available” signs open taxis usually show with the words “Covid” and “vaccine” with a checkmark. The sign is in Thai, English, and Chinese. The program is exclusive to Smart Taxi, which operates about 5,000 taxis. The company that launched in 2018 as part of the “Taxi OK” program to improve service and safety for customers by the Department of Land Transport. The program also has its own ride-hailing app to compete with Grab and other rideshare companies.

No word yet if other companies will follow suit in displaying that their drivers are vaccinated, but Grab has been working to secure vaccines for their drivers since February and announced a goal to vaccinate all their staff by the end of 2022. The managing director of Smart Taxi believes that boosting confidence in local transportation can be a driving force in the economy and that his signs will help increase vaccine awareness as the Thai government struggles to roll out mass vaccination programmes across the country.

SOURCE: Vice and Thai PBS World

 

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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