Tougher fines for bad drivers before taxi fare hike

Tougher fines for bad drivers before taxi fare hike

Transport authorities want even tougher punishment for errant taxi drivers before they will permit another fare hike. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Transport authorities want even tougher punishment for errant taxi drivers before they will permit another fare hike. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

The Transport Ministry has postponed another taxi fare rise pending the imposition of tougher punishment for cab drivers who reject passengers or do not use the meter, with a fine possibly reaching 10,000 baht.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith discussed the possibility of another taxi fare increase with relevant officials at his ministry on Wednesday. After the meeting, he said it did not consider the earlier promised 5% increase in fares in greater Bangkok because authorities first wanted to see clear solutions to taxi drivers rejecting passengers and refusing to use meters.

"The five-percent fare rise will happen surely as earlier approved in principle because operating costs have been studied and passengers' satisfaction surveyed. But the problem is that the rejection of passengers and failure to use meters continues. So solutions to these must be figured out," Mr Arkhom said.

In late 2014 transport authorities agreed with a 13% taxi fare hike to cover higher taxi costs. The first portion of the increase, 8%, happened over a year ago and the remaining five percentage points have been postponed on the condition that taxi drivers must guarantee good services including always picking up passengers and using their meters.

The 5% increase would raise fares by 50 satang per kilometre within travelled distances of 60 kilometres.

Sanit Phromwong, director-general of the Land Transport Department which supervises taxi services, said two laws would have to be amended to increase punishment for cab drivers who reject passengers or do not use meters.

The amendment should be published in the Royal Gazette this year and would take effect a year afterwards, he said.

A source at the department said the amendment would raise the fine on a taxi driver who rejects a passenger or refuses to use a meter from 1,000 baht to 10,000 baht. On such offences, taxi owners who lease their vehicles to such drivers would be also fined up to 50,000 baht.

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