Fines, bans mulled for pavement riding

Fines, bans mulled for pavement riding

Motorcycle taxi drivers who repeatedly ride on pavements could have their uniforms confiscated for up to three years, under a proposal being considered by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

BMA spokesman Pongsakorn Kwanmuang discussed the idea yesterday after leading a team to gather opinions from both drivers and pedestrians at Asok intersection yesterday.

“Every opinion will be taken into consideration. We want to know whether the people agree with the policy or not, and what their suggestions on the matter are. This is for the orderliness of Bangkok,” he said.

Pol Capt Pongsakorn and his team also invited motorcycle taxi drivers in the Thong Lor area to voice their opinions on the proposed penalties. These include a 2,000-baht fine for riding on footpaths, with motorcycle taxis facing an extra penalty of losing their licence to operate for three years.

Those who agreed with the proposals insisted pedestrians and vehicles should be completely separated. However, motorcycle taxi driver Wasan Ritrod complained the proposed punishment was too harsh, especially given the current economic situation.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to avoid [riding on the footpath]. For example, vendors hire me to deliver market goods which are so heavy that I can’t handle my bike [in road traffic],” he said.

Another motorcycle taxi driver, who asked not to be named, said the proposed penalties target the wrong people.

“The offenders are usually not motorcycle taxi drivers but local residents used to taking short cuts rather than distant U-turns,” he said.

A total of 10,000 surveys have been distributed to all 50 Bangkok districts to gather feedback from motorcycle taxi drivers and others. The results will be considered in drafting a proposal for a subcommittee on management of motorcycle taxis on Oct 31. It will then be forwarded to the main committee co-chaired by the BMA and the Department of Land Transport.

Pol Capt Pongsakorn said the committee may not agree with something as drastic as the three-year ban. Since July 9 last year, BMA officials have arrested 24,337 motorcyclists for pavement riding and collected about 17 million baht in fines.

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