Thai government pledges better conditions for motorcycle taxi drivers

Picture courtesy of Wichan Charoenkiatpakul, Bangkok Post

The Thai government has recently taken into account a series of grievances from motorcycle taxi drivers, tasking the Transport Ministry with the job of enhancing their working conditions. The decision was made yesterday, following a meeting between Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and representatives from the drivers’ community.

The gathering took place at the Pheu Thai Party headquarters in Bangkok, marking the fourth meeting the prime minister has had with various groups to better understand their livelihoods since his appointment.

Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit, Deputy Transport Minister Manaporn Charoensri, and PM’s Office Minister Puangpet Chunlaiad joined the prime minister. The motorcycle taxi drivers voiced their concerns, which ranged from high fuel prices to the absence of pick-up points, an age restriction for drivers, and insufficient funds for obtaining new or electric vehicles.

In response to the motorcycle drivers concerns raised, Srettha assured the taxi vendors that the government is ready to tackle their most pressing issues.

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“I’m asking for time to address these issues but what can be done will be done immediately.”

One immediate action discussed was allowing drivers over 60 years old to continue working as a motorcycle taxi, provided they pass a health examination. The 61 year old PM also mentioned the necessity for further discussions with the Labour Ministry regarding social security coverage for this demographic, reported Bangkok Post.

Regarding financial aid, Srettha revealed that the government would request state-run banks to consider offering soft loans to taxi drivers wishing to purchase new motorcycles or switch to electric ones.

A revenue-sharing scheme was also suggested as a feasible solution. Under this plan, taxi drivers wouldn’t need to take out loans to buy electric motorcycles but would be required to share their earnings to cover the costs.

In addition to these immediate actions, Srettha also proposed the development of a local ride-hailing mobile application for motorcycle taxi drivers, to ensure fair treatment. This, however, might necessitate amendments to existing laws, hence he has requested the new transport minister to investigate the issue.

In response, Suriya stated that a working committee will be formed to examine these concerns, with findings anticipated in two months. These findings will subsequently be presented to the cabinet for further consideration.

Before this recent meeting, Srettha held discussions with representatives from the fisheries industry in Samut Songkhram. He also met with individuals from the travel sector to explore ways to boost tourism during the upcoming high season running from November to March.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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