Govt puts ‘Taxi OK’ scheme in first gear
A total of 5,000 taxis under the government’s new “Taxi OK” scheme, are ready to hit the streets, Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said on Friday.
The initiative, joined by newly registered taxis, is aimed at improving taxi services following complaints from customers about being turned away by drivers, smelly taxis, harassment from drivers and drivers cheating on fares.
Speaking at the launch of the Taxi OK project, Mr Arkhom said the 5,000 legally registered taxis were now ready to pick up passengers.
The scheme was initiated to streamline the taxi service and improve the image of public taxis, according to the transport minister.
Transport sources said poor taxi services were the main reason why many people had turned to the ride-sharing vehicles.
The Taxi OK fare starts at 35 baht plus a 20-baht service fee. Customers can call taxis via a mobile application which is now available for download.
Passengers are required to register on the app first. They can book taxis that will be stationed at 14 Taxi OK centres by filling in pickup and drop-off details.
All taxis taking part in the scheme are also equipped with passenger safety devices such as a global positioning system (GPS) which will help track vehicles, snapshot cameras to take photos of the driver and passenger inside the taxis and emergency alarm buttons for passengers in the event that they need help.
Mr Arkhom said nearly 100,000 taxis are expected to be part of the project soon, of which 36,000 have registered with the ministry so far.
The first 5,000 taxis are part of the Taxi OK service scheme’s launch phase.
The ministry also plans to provide training for more than 80,000 taxi drivers to provide a better standard of service.
After the training, drivers will obtain certificates from the Department of Land Transport.
If drivers break the public transport laws they will be fined and have their operating licences suspended, the transport minister said.
On ride-sharing services offered by Grab and Uber, Mr Arkhom insisted vehicles used by both companies must be registered with the ministry as public transport vehicles.
As for a fare hike requested by drivers, the ministry was in the process of considering it as the agency has continued to receive reports about drivers refusing to pick up passengers, he added.