A passenger of a taxi in Bangkok, Thailand, filmed the meter rising suspiciously quickly and posted it on Twitter, asking netizens, “Is this normal?”
Facebook page “Do you want to be famous? I’ll make you famous return part 5.3” – comrades of citizen journalism in Thailand – publicised the video on Sunday.
The passenger said they got in the taxi at Don Mueang Airport and the meter had already risen to 347 baht by the time they were approaching the Din Daeng Expressway.
When the female taxi driver saw the passenger filming the meter, she suddenly turned it off, despite having a while to go until they reached their destination, said the passenger.
The passenger paid the expensive bill and said they regretted not asking for a receipt. However, they did note that the taxi’s registration plate started with ‘1มก’ and advised others not to take the expensive taxi if they saw it.
The clip has been sent to both the Department of Transportation and the Airports of Thailand (AOT) but hasn’t elicited any response as of yet.
Taxi drivers in Thailand are required by law to set the price of a journey using the taxi meter. However, taxi drivers in Bangkok often ask the passenger to agree on a higher price before the journey starts – often citing traffic – to avoid using the meter and make more money, hoping that the passenger, especially if they are a tourist, is unaware of the law.
Perhaps the taxi driver in the clip thought that she could doctor the meter to move faster and earn more money without even having to ask for more.
AOT recently reported entering negotiations with Grab to fill taxi shortages at Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Mueang Airport. Tourists are back in almost full force, yet only 500 of the 2,500 taxis registered at Don Mueang Airport are actually in service, according to President of AOT Nitinai Sirisatthakarn.