NCPO begins crackdown on Pattaya motorbike taxis

Friday, 11 July 2014 From Issue Vol. XXII No. 28 By  Urasin Khantaraphan

Plan requires lower fares, polite drivers

The National Council for Peace and Order’s promised crackdown on Pattaya’s wild motorbike-taxi industry has begun, with drivers outside Pattaya Police Station becoming the first to see fares reduced and operating practices improved.

Capt. Sittichai Chamsawat of the 14th Military Circle in Chonburi joined Pattaya Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh and Banglamung Permanent Secretary Pongsathit Pijnont at the taxi stand at Beach Road and Soi 9 where officials began registering motorbike-taxi drivers for a newly regulated program already being implemented in Bangkok.

Capt. Sittichai Chamsawat of the 14th Military Circle in Chonburi joined Pattaya Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh, Banglamung Permanent Secretary Pongsathit Pijnont and relevant agencies at the taxi stand on Beach Road and Soi 9 where officials began registering motorbike-taxi drivers for a newly regulated program. Capt. Sittichai Chamsawat of the 14th Military Circle in Chonburi joined Pattaya Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh, Banglamung Permanent Secretary Pongsathit Pijnont and relevant agencies at the taxi stand on Beach Road and Soi 9 where officials began registering motorbike-taxi drivers for a newly regulated program.

Anop Praditsakul, the local motorbike-taxi boss controlling 65 bikes across the top and bottom of three streets around Soi 9, cooperated with the military in its effort to combat unfair practices by drivers and reduce the influence of organized-crime gangs controlling taxis.

If successful, the changes being forced upon the virtually independent drivers will mean substantial benefits to Pattaya tourists and residents and take a substantial bite out of the money drivers squeeze out of them.

The National Council for Peace and Order’s promised crackdown on Pattaya’s wild motorbike-taxi industry has begun, with drivers outside Pattaya Police Station becoming the first to see fares reduced and operating practices improved.The National Council for Peace and Order’s promised crackdown on Pattaya’s wild motorbike-taxi industry has begun, with drivers outside Pattaya Police Station becoming the first to see fares reduced and operating practices improved.

Sittichai said motorbike taxis will have to adhere to existing, but currently ignored, Land Transport Department fare regulations, which state rides of two kilometers or less should not exceed 25 baht. The third through fifth kilometer adds only 5 baht each to the fare.

Currently, Pattaya motorbike taxis charge 40 baht for even the shortest rides.

Sittichai said distances of more than five kilometers would remain negotiable.

Other changes required under the new program would mandate drivers treat customers politely, be properly dressed, wear the correct jersey and long pants, have a yellow public-transport license plate, have helmets for both driver and passenger, park unobtrusively, not use drugs or alcohol, and display a license at taxi stands with the names of all registered drivers.

Registrations are being taken through July 15 at city hall.

The NCPO moved to regulate motorbike taxis as Pattaya is a major tourist hub that comprises of at least one million tourists. However, there have been several problems regarding public transportation services within the area. Problems such as unreasonable public transportation fares, poor services, and Mafia-style groups taking advantage of residents have been common.

The junta’s three-phase plan calls for systematizing motorcycle-taxi operations and communicating with operators about inappropriate activities while solving the problems of extortion gangs and official corruption, updating the Traffic Act, regulations and guidelines, and making the changes permanent.

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