Street vendors demand pavement space

Street vendors demand pavement space

City Hall should soften its ban on street traders and allocate parts of the pavements in certain areas for them to re-start their trade, traders say.

Led by former Democrat Party MP Watchara Petchthong, the group of about 30 vendors representing 3,000 vendors appeared at City Hall yesterday. Several in the group were affected by City Hall's clean-up campaign and went out of business last October. They recently sought help from the party.

Over 20,000 vendors from over 600 spots around the city have been affected by the campaign to return pavements to the public, said Mr Watchara. These vendors have been authorised by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to trade in so-called "lenient areas".

These replacement locations are impractical and the vendors could not continue their trade there, he said.

Mr Watchara proposed the BMA manage a new public area by allocating parts of the pavements in areas where both pedestrians and vendors can go about their business. The pavement along Sukhumvit Road at night or during off-peak hours also has potential as an area, he said.

The BMA already has plans to manage Yaowarat and Khao San roads, and other spots should receive the same consideration to boost BMA revenue, he said.

The vendors are willing to pay a fee to get trading permission in a choice location, said Mr Watchara.

Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang said he understood the vendors' situation, but the clean-up campaign remains a BMA priority.

The BMA is ready to help street vendors where it can, said Mr Aswin, but the agency also has to consider the needs of the public, who also use the pavements.

District officers have been assigned to study possibilities for lenient areas in their districts.

A meeting to discuss the possibilities is scheduled for July 17.

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