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Tour van drivers suffer from lack of passengers, Covid restrictions



PHOTO: Mike/Flickr

Tour van drivers are currently suffering under the weight of vehicle payments against the lightness of tourists to drive around.

In northeastern Thailand’s Nakhon Ratchasima, 41 year old tour van driver Punnawit Jaenlue, says he used to do 20 trips a month, raking in about 50,000 baht. However, due to Covid restriction pertaining to interprovincial travel, he says making even the monthly payments on his vehicle is a struggle.

Punnawit tells Thai media he is not singular in his financial struggles. Other tour drivers are also in dire straits. 1 idea is to defer their monthly payments.

Punnawit adds that the government’s Covid control measures is adding pressure to his industry. He says the measures that tell people to avoid travelling to different provinces and to work from home have been catastrophic to the tour van industry.

Further, people are refraining from hiring vans out of fear of contacting Covid from other van passengers.

However, the CCSA has announced even more stringent measures, such as a curfew in Bangkok and 5 other provinces for 2 weeks. And travelling to other provinces? Discouraged.

Punnawit says tour van drivers’ financial burden extends beyond their monthly instalments. He says without income coming in, he does not have the cash to pay off the van loan, which is about 14,00 baht per month. Punnawit adds that this is before he even covers his basic needs.

Punnawit is pleading with the government and other agencies to provide financial respite such as putting the breaks on payments for between 3 and 6 months for tour van drivers. He says this would be the best way for the industry to survive.

He finished his remarks by saying how during the 1st Covid wave in Thailand, the government halted repayments for van drivers for 3 months.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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Jack is from the USA, has a B.A. in English, and writes on a variety of topics. He lives in Thailand.

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