TEST YOURSELF: A Thai taxi timeline

TEST YOURSELF: A Thai taxi timeline

Photo: Bangkok Post photo archive
Photo: Bangkok Post photo archive

Do you know when Thailand got its first taxis?

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Read the following story by Pornchai Sereemongkonpol from the Bangkok Post’s Guru Magazine. Then, answer the questions that follow.

Taxi service in Thailand is about to change up a gear after a new regulation allows the use of private cars for transport apps like Grab.

Here's an almost-century timeline of taxis in Thailand.

1923 -- On July 31, the first taxi service begins. Taxi Siam introduces 14 Austin cars to chauffeur passengers around, charging 15 satang per mile. It is set up to help veteran soldiers of World War I gain an income. Apparently, the service is said to be too expensive so demand is low and Taxi Siam closes.

1947 -- Private companies boost the Thai taxi services. The vehicles of choice for taxis are Renault, Austin, Datsun Bluebird and Toyota. A ride in a Renault costs 2 baht per kilometre. A taxi licence plate is priced in the area of six digits so cabbies drive their cars until they are shabby. There is no law forcing cabs to have meters so the fare is an agreement between drivers and passengers.

1992 -- A new law states that all taxicabs must install meters. The cost of a taxi licence plate reduces drastically but a car could be used as a taxi for a maximum of 12 years. It's not unusual for taxi drivers to refuse passengers, citing traffic jams or returning their vehicles to the taxi cooperatives.

2013 -- Grab launches in Thailand as Grab Taxi in Bangkok. With taxi apps, passengers have a much smoother experience. For example, GrabCar users wait to be picked up from their desired location. They know whether any nearby drivers will take them and how much the ride will cost, all in advance.

2014 -- Uber launches in Bangkok, with limited cars available.

2018 -- Uber sells their operations in Asia to Grab.

2018 -- The All Thai Taxi app introduces Mercedes-Benz cars to offer VIP taxi services in June. They are equipped with all kinds of extras such as CCTV, free bottled water, free Wi-Fi and charging ports for mobile phones. The fare starts from 150 baht for the first 2km.

2020 -- The Cabb app launches in August to offer a "new standard of taxi service", using London-style cabs. Besides pay-per-trip, they also offer a subscription plan. They plan to launch Cabb EV, a 100% electric taxicab service, next year.

May 2021 -- Smart Taxi cleverly uses taxi signs to show that their drivers have been fully vaccinated. If the taxi sign shows "Vaccine √", that means the driver has received two doses of Covid-19 vaccines.

Section 1: Write the correct answer in the space provided.
1. Who drove Thailand’s first taxis? …………….
2. How much would a 10 km ride cost in 1947? …………….
3. Which app offers a subscription service? …………….
4. Which taxis give information on the driver’s health? …………….
5. Which app’s taxis cost at least 150 baht?…………..
6. Which company bought out Uber? …………….

Section 2: Read the following passage. Then, fill in the blanks with the correct words from the choices given.
Drivers of ride-hailing apps have …7… operating for years …8… proper legal status. Taxi drivers have …9… with Grab drivers out of fear of losing customers. These cabbies have also …10… protests against apps.
7. __A. had             __B. ever                __C. been
8. __A. behind                 __B. within               __C. without
9. __A. clashed            __B. fighting           __C. beaten
10. __A. hold            __B. held                __C. have

Section 3: Find words that match the following definitions.
11. a rule or law ……………
12. a person with experience of being a solider in an army ……………
13. old and in poor condition ……………
14. an amount of money that you pay regularly to receive a service …………

Answers: 1. veteran soldiers. 2. 20 baht. 3. Cabb. 4. Smart Taxi. 5. All Thai Taxi. 6. Grab. 7. c. 8. c. 9. a. 10. b. 11. regulation. 12. veteran. 13. shabby. 14. subscription.

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