PHANG NGA: More than 70 sorng taeow (local buses) blocked Tai Muang Beach Rd in Phang Nga on Monday in a successful protest against an increase in fees demanded by the province’s transport concession holder. The contract between the sorng taeow drivers and the concession holder, Phuket Sa Ha Yan Yont Khon Sog Co Ltd, required the drivers to pay an annual fee of 780 baht. However, the company subsequently demanded that the drivers pay an additional 15 baht a day – equivalent to 5,475 baht a year. The drivers protested in February, and provincial transportation authorities agreed to review the issue. But, the sorng taeow drivers said, no progress had been made in the dispute, and the company’s collector, Chalor Dasathien, had continued visiting drivers to demand they pay the daily fee. The problem was solved at a stroke by Pol Col Chatchai Sakulporn, Superintendent of Tai Muang Police Station. He telephoned the company’s managing director, La-ied Chanasrisawat, and persuaded her to drop demands for the daily fee. Satisfied, the sorng taeow drivers dispersed soon after.
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