Calls to revive 'red cars' in Chiang Mai

The rot daeng ('red car') service is a popular form of local transport in Chiang Mai.
The rot daeng ('red car') service is a popular form of local transport in Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai tourism operators are urging the local government to help revive the transport service provided by the province's iconic rot daeng ("red cars") as more passengers have switched to other forms of transport.

An online discussion saw a Facebook user post concerns about the future of rot daeng services in Chiang Mai as they are now facing fierce competition from ride-hailing services.

A number of netizens said they had experienced a poor level of service or had been overcharged by drivers of the cars in the past.

Punlop Saejew of the Tourism Council of Chiang Mai, said it was inevitable that rot daeng have been disrupted by ride-hailing services, which provide more convenience in terms of people being able to book them with a clear price provided ahead of departure.

The problem came from cases that involved rot daeng being requested to travel somewhere, with no guarantee that the driver would be able to pick up new passengers on the way back. In such a case, the driver may have to raise the price for passengers.

Mr Punlop said some drivers, therefore, chose to reject passengers or requested a higher fare.

He said the Department of Land Transport sets the ceiling price at 30 baht per ride, while only 100 of the red vehicles are still active in the city, compared to 1,000 registered in the system.

"Rot daeng is still an icon of Chiang Mai tourism, as many foreign tourists put it on their must-do list while visiting the province, the same way they want to ride a tuk tuk in Bangkok," he said.

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  • call (noun): a request, an order or a demand for somebody to do something or to go somewhere - ข้อเรียกร้อง
  • ceiling: an upper limit - เพดาน ขีดจำกัด
  • competition: a situation in which people or organizations compete, i.e., try to be more successful or better than somebody else who is trying to do the same as you - การแข่งขัน
  • concern: a worry - ความกังวล
  • disrupt: to interrupt something and prevent it from continuing by creating a problem - ได้รับการกระทบกระเทือน  ถูกทำให้หยุดชะงัก
  • guarantee: to be certain that something will happen - รับรอง, รับประกัน
  • hail: to signal to a taxi or a bus, in order to get the driver to stop - เรียก
  • icon: something that is well known and acts as a sign or symbol of something มีชื่อเสียงและเป็นสัญลักษณ์แทนบาง -
  • iconic: well known and acting as a sign or symbol of something - มีชื่อเสียงและเป็นสัญลักษณ์แทนบาง
  • inevitable: unavoidable - ซึ่งหลีกเลี่ยงไม่ได้
  • overcharge (verb): to ask for too much money for the product or service you are selling - คิดเงินแพงเกินไป
  • reject: to not accept something - ปฏิเสธ ไม่ยอมรับ
  • revive: to come or bring something back to existence or use - ฟื้นฟู, ทำให้เกิดขึ้นอีก
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