More taxi fare talks scheduled (Updated)

More taxi fare talks scheduled (Updated)

Some kind of a taxi fare increase for airport taxis now seems likely, but not as high as many drivers would like.

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Is the extra space a bigger taxi offers worth an extra 50 baht surcharge from airports and a negotiated rather than a flat-rate fare? Photos by Thanarak Khunton.

Friday morning update

Here is an update to yesterday's story from Amornrat Mahitthirook and Suthiwit Chayutworakan.

Ministry warms to raising taxi surcharges at Suvarnabhumi

Transport officials are considering increasing taxi surcharges to 60 baht for sedans and 90 baht for vans at Suvarnabhumi airport, but are likely to reject pleas from cab drivers to charge extra for baggage or to use flat rates, said a source.

If Transport Minister Prajin Juntong backs the measure, the surcharge increase would be on top of meter-based fare rate hikes approved in December.

ACM Prajin declined yesterday to say what he would do, saying a meeting of transport executives yesterday did not reach a conclusion. "We need to consider the issue further," he said.

He and other executives would meet again next week.

He said authorities are considering the drivers' call to charge passengers with extra luggage, which add weight and lead to more fuel consumption.

They also weighed the idea of flat rates, which drivers say would help cover fuel costs for long journeys better than meter-based fares do.

ACM Prajin said he and his team are not rushing to decisions about the baggage fees, saying further talks with state and private stakeholders, as well as passengers, are necessary.

A Transport Ministry source, however, said the executives are likely not to approve the extra luggage fee because the surcharge increase would already help the drivers.

Meanwhile, the Land Transport Department, which enforces legal meter usage, was unlikely to accept a proposal that the drivers be allowed to switch off meters and offer a flat rate to passengers.

In the department's view, charging by the meter is more widely accepted internationally, the source said.

Thursday's story

Final talks begin on cab fare increase

Amornrat Mahitthirook

The Land Transport Department (LTD) will hold talks with taxi drivers and operators today to finalise a proposed surcharge increase, Transport Minister Prajin Juntong says.

Larger taxis, such as vans and SUVs, want to increase the surcharge from 50 baht to 100 baht when they pick up passengers from Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports.

They also want to be allowed to turn off the meter and negotiate fares for long-distance trips.

Taxis of all sizes pick up passengers at Suvarnabhumi,

ACM Prajin plans to also discuss recent episodes of taxi drivers cheating their passengers.

The LTD is investigating two cases after video clips went viral showing passengers arguing with drivers about high cab fares.

One involves a Japanese businessman who was charged a 75-baht start-up fare, and the other involves a female Thai passenger who was charged 435 baht for a trip that usually costs her less than 180 baht.

The viral video clip taken by the Japanese businessman. (Update: Channel 3 has just aired a video-clip in which the taxi driver admits he handled the situation very poorly, but he strongly denies any intent to cheat. He said he was extremely fatigued after working almost a full day without rest)

In the first case, if the driver, identified as Udon Satsanapisut, is found guilty of overcharging, he will be slapped with a 5,000-baht fine and have his taxi driving licence revoked, said LTD deputy director-general Chirute Visalachitra.

Regarding the other case, Mr Chirute said it is likely the meter was tampered with. The woman was travelling from the Dusit area to Lian Duan Ramintra.

Even with the new fare rate in effect, the cab fare should not be that high.

When new taxi rates go fully into effect, passengers in Bangkok will pay an increased fare of about 8%.

Mr Chirute said the woman's driver, who was not named, could lose his public driving licence for good if he is found to have tampered with the meter.

A taxi driver who asked not to be named said yesterday some cabbies use two meters — one approved by the LTD and an illegal one that charges a high fare rate.

According to the driver, it takes just 10 seconds to swap out the devices, and drivers often switch to the illegal one when picking up passengers at bus terminals or van stands.

Asked about the claim, Mr Chirute said the department is unaware of such a practice and will send officials to investigate.

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Vocabulary

  • admit: to agree that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it - ยอมรับ
  • air: to broadcast; to send out a programme on television or radio - ออกอากาศ, กระจายเสียง,กระจายข่าว
  • approved: given official agreement or permission - ได้รับการรับรองแล้ว
  • argue: to speak angrily to somebody because you disagree with them; to give reasons why you think that something is right/wrong, true/not true, etc, especially to persuade people that you are right - โต้เถียง, โต้แย้ง, เถียง, อ้างเหตุผล
  • authority (noun): a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
  • back: to support - สนับสนุน
  • baggage: luggage; all the cases and bags that you take with you when you travel - กระเป๋าเดินทาง
  • cab: a taxi -
  • claim (noun): saying that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it - ข้ออ้าง ข้อกล่าวหา
  • conclusion: a final decision - การสรุป การตกลงขั้นสุดท้าย
  • consider: to give careful thought to something before making a decision - พิจารณา
  • consumption: the act of using energy, food or materials; the amount used - การบริโภคพลังงาน, การใช้หมดไป
  • decline (verb): to say politely that you will not accept something, do something, or say something - ปฏิเสธ, ปฏิเสธที่จะทำ 
  • deny: to say that something is not true - ปฏิเสธ
  • deputy: a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation - รอง
  • device (noun): a machine or piece of equipment that does a particular job - อุปกรณ์ เครื่องมือ เครื่องจักร
  • director-general: the head of a large organisation, especially a public organisation - อธิบดี
  • enforce : to make sure laws are obeyed - บังคับให้ใช้, บังคับให้ทำ, ใช้กำลังบังคับให้ปฏิบัติตาม
  • episode: an event or set of events that forms part of a longer series but is considered separately - กรณี, ตอน,ฉาก
  • executive: a senior manager in a business or other organisation - ผู้บริหาร
  • fare: the money that you pay for a journey - ค่าโดยสาร
  • fatigued: very tired, both physically and mentally - เหน็ดเหนื่อย
  • fee: an amount of money that you pay to be allowed to do something - ค่าธรรมเนียม
  • female: being a woman or a girl - สตรี, ผู้หญิง, เพศหญิ
  • finalise: to complete the last part of a plan, trip, project, etc - ทำให้เสร็จสมบูรณ์
  • fine: an amount of money that you have to pay because you have broken the law - ค่าปรับ
  • flat-rate: a price that is the same for everyone and in all situations; a single price for a service - ราคาเหมา
  • for good (idiom): permanently, for all time - ถาวร, ตลอดไป
  • guilty: having done something wrong, having the feeling that you have done something wrong - มีความผิด
  • handle: to deal with a situation, a person, an area of work or a strong emotion - ควบคุม, ปฏิบัติ,จัดการ
  • hike: an increase - การเพิ่มสูงขึ้น
  • identified (verb): named, searched for a discovered - ระบุ
  • illegal: against the law - อย่างผิดกฎหมาย
  • in effect: in use - กำลังใช้อยู่
  • intent (noun): your plan or purpose - จุดประสงค์, เจตนา
  • investigate: to try to find out the facts about something in order to learn the truth about it - ตรวจสอบหาความจริง
  • involve (verb): to be an important or necessary part or result of something - เกี่ยวพัน, เกี่ยวข้อง, พัวพัน
  • issue: a problem that needs to be considered - ประเด็น
  • Land Transport Department (noun): The department of the Transport Ministry responsible overseeing land transport in the country, setting regulations and issuing drivers licenses - กรมการขนส่งทางบก
  • legal: allowed by the law - ถูกต้องตามกฎหมาย
  • licence: an official document that gives someone permission to do or use something - ใบอนุญาต
  • measure: an action taken to solve a particular problem - มาตรการ
  • negotiate: to try to reach an agreement by discussing something in a formal way - เจรจาต่อรอง
  • operator (noun): a person or company that runs a business - ผู้ดำเนินกิจการทางธุรกิจ, ผู้ประกอบธุรกิจ
  • overcharge (verb): to ask for too much money for the product or service you are selling - คิดเงินแพงเกินไป
  • passenger: someone who travels in a motor vehicle, aircraft, train, or ship but is not the driver or one of the people who works on it - ผู้โดยสาร
  • plea: an urgent and emotional request - คำร้อง, คำขอ, คำขอร้อง, คำวิงวอน
  • practice: a way of doing something - การปฏิบัติ
  • proposal: a plan or suggestion for a group to consider - ข้อเสนอ
  • propose: to suggest an idea for a group to consider - เสนอ
  • public: open to people in general - สาธารณะ
  • rate: an amount of money that is paid or charged - ราคา, อัตรา
  • recent: happening or starting a short time ago - เร็วๆ นี้
  • regarding: concerning somebody/something; about somebody/something - เกี่ยวกับ
  • reject: to not accept something - ปฏิเสธ ไม่ยอมรับ
  • revoke: to officially say that something is no longer legal - เพิกถอน
  • rush: to move or do something very quickly - รีบเร่ง, วิ่ง
  • sedan: a closed car with a front and back seat for  passengers - รถยนต์ส่วนบุคคลสี่ประตู
  • situation: all the circumstances and things that are happening at a particular time and in a particular place - สถานการณ์
  • slap with (verb): to give someone a punishment - ลงโทษ
  • source: someone who gives information - แหล่งข่าว
  • stand (noun): a place where taxis, buses, etc. park while they are waiting for passengers - ที่จอดรถ
  • surcharge (noun): an extra amount of money you must pay; an added charge - เก็บเงินเพิ่ม, คิดเงินเพิ่ม
  • swap: to exchange something for something else - แลกเปลี่ยน
  • switch: to change - เปลี่ยน
  • switch off (verb): to turn a light, machine, system, etc. off - ปิดการทำงาน
  • tamper with: to try to change something that should not be changed - เปลี่ยนเพื่อทำลาย
  • terminal: a large building where passengers arrive and leave - อาคารผู้โดยสาร
  • unaware: not understanding or realising something - ซึ่งไม่รู้ตัวมาก่อน
  • viral: (of a video, photo, story, etc.) spread across the internet very quickly (like a virus spreading a disease) as people share it with their friends or the news media reports on it - แพร่กระจายผ่านทางอินเทอร์เน็ตอย่างรวดเร็ว
  • warm (verb): to become more friendly, loving, etc.; to make somebody feel or become more friendly, loving, etc. - ทำให้อุ่นขึ้น, ทำให้อบอุ่น
  • weigh: to consider something carefully before making a decision - ชั่งน้ำหนัก, พิจารณา

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