Public transport operators staged a protest on Tuesday to press the government to slash the price of natural gas for vehicles (NGV) from almost 20 baht per kilo to 12.74 baht.
The protest, involving 200-300 public transport vehicles, was led by associations promoting the interests of provincial and city public van operators, as well as those for buses, mini-buses and songthaews.
The protesters gathered outside Government House, where a formal complaint was submitted to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin about what they said was the NGV price skyrocketing to almost 20 baht a kilo.
Somkid Chueakong, the prime minister's deputy secretary-general, accepted the complaint on the premier's behalf.
In the letter, the protesters demanded an NGV price freeze at 12.74 baht per kilo, down from the current 19.59 baht set on Oct 31, for public transport vehicles.
The groups said they had written to Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga on Nov 2, calling for a price cut.
However, their demand had not been met, with many operators having to shoulder the steep cost of fuel.
They said they have suffered a double whammy -- first when the Covid-19 pandemic hit and now with the soaring NGV price -- which has forced a lot of operators to go under.
While the groups said they appreciate the government setting up a working team to study the problems plaguing public vehicle operators, they need concrete measures to offset the high cost of fuel.
The associations said that in addition to slashing the price of NGV, no limit should be set on the amount of NGV public transport operators can buy at the discounted price, which should last for at least two years.
According to the protesters, Mr Pirapan had replied to their letter, saying their demand is now being studied.
On Tuesday, Mr Somkid said that he would pass the complaint to both the premier and the Energy Ministry. In an attempt by the government to lower energy prices, the government is going to work with related sectors on securing an NGV price freeze, he added.