809 Bangkok taxi drivers were fined in May, according to the latest data released from the Department of Land Transport, although only 38 of those were down to refusing fares.
That’s just over 1 driver a day during the month of May being held accountable for refusing to take passengers — in reality, it’s likely that there are a lot more drivers in the city refusing fares and apparently escaping the punishment.
Other reasons for taxi fines in May included not checking the operation of their meters by the due date, failure to pay vehicle tax, not displaying licences and using illegal vehicles.
Also fined were 355 van drivers and 119 motorbike taxis drivers, reports the Bangkok Post.
In addition to the fines, those at fault were sent to awareness workshops in a bid to improve their customer service.
Remember, the best way to help improve the public transport services in Bangkok is to report incidents to the Department of Land Transport. Here’s how:
- 24 hour hotline: Call 1584
- Online: Department of Land Transport
- Line: 1584dlt
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Recognising the impact that opportunistic taxi drivers can have on tourists (for instance, refusing to use the meter or overcharging foreigners), the Airports of Thailand (AOT) have been focusing on improving onward service from Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports.
Public transport drivers can apply to undertake a series of tests to receive a professional certificate and licence from the Competency Assurance Centre for Occupational Standards for Community Standards.
The training for these tests include schooling in car mechanics and customer service, as well as practical application of local geography, roads and locations. Some who earn the certificate will then be eligible for free foreign language classes.
According to the Nation, this year saw 375 drivers receive certification (out of 404 applications) and 1,000 drivers are expected to receive it next year.
There are currently a combined 10,000 taxi drivers working out of Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang and they will often be the first service contact many tourists have in Thailand, and they can leave an indelible first impression.
The director of Don Mueang, Pet Chancharoen, has said of the certification that, “We have received good feedback from passengers. It would be good for the country’s image if we insist that all taxi drivers working at Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports pass this test and get a certificate.”
The Department of Land Transport has made the tests and licence compulsory for all new public transport drivers across the city as of 1 June too.
Featured image by Kojach and used under a Creative Commons licence