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Hundreds of taxi drivers gather at Government House to present demands

Maya Taylor

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Taxis on a busy Bangkok thoroughfare. PHOTO: Connor Williams on Unsplash

Hundreds of taxi drivers have held a rally outside Government House in Bangkok, calling for 6 key demands to be met. Around 500 drivers attended the rally yesterday, submitting a petition addressed to the Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. It’s not the first time the strong taxi ‘union’ has banded together to push demands to improve their pay and conditions.

The gathering was led by Worapol Kaemkhunthod, chairman of the Association of Public Taxi Motorists, who says members are not happy with a draft bill that paves the way for private cars to be used in ride-hailing services. They are also calling on the government to extend the operational age of taxis from 9 to 12 years, and to abolish the requirement for drivers to fit GPS tracking devices.

The group was met by Suporn Atthawong, vice minister of the Prime Minister’s Office, who accepted their petition. He acknowledges the drivers’ concerns, saying competition from ride-hailing apps is a worry for them.

Apps like ‘Grab’, the increased efficiency and, usually, cheaper fare, have slowly eroded into the traditional taxi business model.

Drivers are also calling on the government to provide them with some form of income protection by regulating the price of fuel and capping interest on taxi-related loans. They also want a reduction in insurance to match that of private vehicles.

The Ministry of Transport has addressed some of the concerns, reassuring drivers that GPS tracking devices will not be mandatory. A spokesman says drivers will merely be asked to install them voluntarily, for safety reasons. Meanwhile, Suporn says officials are also discussing car-financing options with the Office of the Consumer Protection Board.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 11:37 am

    They do not like Grab because they cannot set the fare on the spot, which means they cannot charge a foreigner more.
    Plus there is record of a Grab request, which again limits their options to corrupt the fare.
    Such as refusing to switch on the meter.
    They cannot stop progress.

  2. Avatar

    Rinky Stingpiece

    Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    Whilst Grab and similar things are great innovations for consumers, the real story is that there are too many taxi drivers for the number of consumers, not just tourists, but skint Thais. The model of leasing a cab and living off a meagre return after the repayments collapses when there is no tourism, Grab or not.

  3. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 12:32 pm

    Have to give Grab a try when/if I return. It’s always a hassle when the driver doesn’t use the meter. I had a driver offer to take me from Soi 8 to Soi 16 for 500THB then he dropped to 300 after I said it doesn’t cost the much to go to BKK. I took a taxi that used a meter and gave him 100. I walked by that 1st driver everday for 5 mos and would not give him any business.

  4. Avatar

    Anh Lam

    Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 12:09 am

    GPS unit keep honest drivers honest. The drivers that are against them not need to be in the business as there is more totheir intentions than being honest.. Bus and trucks and commercial vehicles are required to have them installed.. Are taxi’s not commwrcial vehicles as we?

  5. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    Alas for the Bangkok taxi drivers, the good old days of shining the seats of their trousers, in air con taxis, and ripping off tourists by not switching the meter on are gone.
    Rip offs by taxis is what makes Grab so attractive.

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