Nearly 8,000 Pattaya-area motorbikes registered, but enforcement of rules lacking

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Pattaya-area officials trying to overhaul the city’s motorcycle-taxi industry say they have registered 761 taxi stands serving 7,950 riders in Pattaya, Banglamung, Nongprue and Huay Yai.

Banglamung District Chief Sakchai Taengho said soldiers, police and municipal officers were divided into three groups to investigate the jurisdictional areas under the responsibility of Pattaya, Banglamung, Nongprue and Huey Yai police stations.

Banglamung District Chief Sakchai Taengho presides over the latest meeting to address the motorcycle taxi situation in Pattaya.Banglamung District Chief Sakchai Taengho presides over the latest meeting to address the motorcycle taxi situation in Pattaya.

The National Council for Peace and Order – which almost immediately after seizing power in the May 22 coup shook up Bangkok’s motorbike-taxi sector – on July 15 ordered Pattaya officials to do the same. The plan is to register all the drivers, provide them numbered vests and enforce legal fares set by the Chonburi Transport Department.

Officials from five agencies said Oct. 2 they had surveyed the entire region, finding 925 motorbike-taxi stands and 11,127 riders. The next step was to register the riders and hand out new official vests.

Sakchai said officials now have registered 530 stands with 6,128 riders in Pattaya, 146 stands with 1,289 riders in Banglamung, 83 stands with 504 riders in Nongprue and two stands and 29 riders in Huay Yai.

However, all four areas also have unregistered riders, many of them part time, and unofficial taxi stands. Sakchai said officials would take action against any unregistered riders found.

The registration, in theory, is supposed to result in radically lower fares and better behavior from the often unruly bands of motorcycle-taxi drivers.

Military officials said in July – and Sakchai reiterated this month – that motorbike taxis would 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. Distances of more than five kilometers would remain negotiable.

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

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.

He said any motorcycle-taxi passengers find riders to be overcharging or not acting in accordance with the program’s rules can report the rider to the 14th Military Circle at 038-276-171, the Chonburi Land Transport Department at 1584, the Pattaya Call Center at 1337 or a Banglamung District at 038-22-124.