Passenger van services face army overhaul by year-end

Passenger van services face army overhaul by year-end

The ad hoc minivan terminal at Victory Monument is in the army's crosshairs for elimination by year-end. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)
The ad hoc minivan terminal at Victory Monument is in the army's crosshairs for elimination by year-end. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

About 3,000 illegally-operated vans will be brought into a proper transport system in a major re-organisation expected to be completed in September or by the end of this year at the latest, according The army will bring about 3,000 illegally-operated passenger vans into the regulated transport system as part of a major reorganisation that aims to end transport chaos at Bangkok’s Victory Monument by the end of this year.

Maj Gen Chalermpol Srisawat, commander of the 2nd Cavalry Division, told Daily News Online on Tuesday that work to reorganize the minivan sector began in June 2014 when about 6,000 vans were found to be operating illegally in Bangkok and other provinces. They were registered as private vehicles, but illegally used for public transport.

Of the 6,000, only about 3,000 will legitimised, as half the illegal vans were more than 10 years old.

This is hardly the first announced plan to re-organize minivans. Pledges have been made for years -- most recently in 2013 and 2014 -- to regulated illegal operators and close down the Victory Monument hub.

In enacted this time, the minvans will be placed into four categories: those operating in Bangkok and surrounding provinces under the supervision of the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority, those operating between Bangkok and other provinces under the supervision of the Transport Co, those operating between provinces outside Bangkok under individual licences from the Department of Land Transport, and intra-provincial operators supervised by the DLT.

All the vans will be required to serve designated terminals. No longer will minivans be allowed to park at Victory Monument in Bangkok or other ad hock depots. Those that do will lose their licences, Maj Gen Chalermpol said.

In areas with no bus terminals, provincial governors will designate areas a depot. The DLT has been asked to ensure than all van operators comply.

Army officers hope the reorganisation will be completed in September, but are giving themselves until the end of the year, just in case.

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