NCPO steps in to regulate motorcycle taxi operations

Friday, 04 July 2014 From Issue Vol. XXII No. 27 By  Urasin Khantaraphan

Looking to emulate a similar program in Bangkok, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has assigned the 14th Military Circle to work alongside Pattaya City Council to regulate motorcycle taxi operations here.

Major General Nat Inthacharoen, Commander of the 14th Military Circle, summoned around 2,000 motorcycle taxi operators from 10 zones in Pattaya, including Pattaya Beach, Central Pattaya, South Pattaya, and Pattaya 2nd and 3rd roads, to a meeting June 25 at Pattaya School #8 to combat unfair practices made by motorcycle taxis.

Major General Nat Inthacharoen, Commander of the 14th Military Circle, summoned around 2,000 motorcycle taxi operators to a meeting to combat unfair practices made by motorcycle taxis.Major General Nat Inthacharoen, Commander of the 14th Military Circle, summoned around 2,000 motorcycle taxi operators to a meeting to combat unfair practices made by motorcycle taxis.

A recent survey shows that there are 1,091 operators legally registered in Pattaya, with another 2,500 unregistered operators.

The Major General announced he will implement measures to reduce the influence of mafia-style extortion gangs among motorcycle taxi services that have been controlling the motorcycle taxi operation for years.

Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome and members of the city council, along with the area’s top police and government officials were also summoned to the meeting.

According to the Major General, 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 groups taking advantage of residents have been common.

After operators’ opinions and suggestions were heard at the meeting, and the total number of the motorcycle taxi stands and operators were collected, the Major General laid out a 3-step road map to the solve theses problems.

Step 1: Systematizing the  motorcycle taxi operations and communicating with the operators about inappropriate activities and solving the problems of mafia-style extortion gangs and official corruption.

Step 2: Updating the Traffic Act, regulations and guidelines.

Step 3: Making all this permanent. In the future, there must not be any money paid to mafia figures as it results in higher fees. The services must be operated to the maximum benefit of the public according to the policies of the NCPO.

Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome announced that zone 1 (out of 4 zones) has been managed. However, stands need to be set up in an orderly manner so they don’t affect traffic; fees need to be fair and services need to be improved without any mafia gangs of officials controlling taxi operations.

The joint committee of military, police, local transport departments, provincial transport departments and provincial representatives will meet later to discuss the issuing of taxi stand licenses, marking the locations of the stands, assigning routes, issuing public motorcycle licenses, and regulating fees.

All of this is expected to be done by August 2014.

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