Military orders van service rejig

The military junta and traffic police on Tuesday outlined a new three-phase plan to reorganise queues and boarding of public vans around the busy Victory Monument area.

Early measures will include strictly enforced limits on how long a van can stop to pick up passengers, a measure deemed necessary because many vans park in the area for lengthy periods. Police will organise a new permanent parking space under the Makkasan Airport Rail Link Station.

The area is expected to house an informal station for van queues and ticket booths in the future. 

Col Chalermpol Srisawat, deputy commander of the 2nd Cavalry Division, King's Guard, revealed the plan after a meeting with Pol Lt Col Joompol Kunanurak, deputy chief of Phaya Thai police station’s traffic unit.

He said traffic police would work with van operators to determine service frequency, in order to reduce traffic congestion at Victory Monument. Police will also monitor to ensure fair pricing, and will be empowered to take "decisive action" against traffic law violators, Pol Lt Col Joompol said.

Somkiet Wannarangsri, who manages a van queuing service on the Victory Monument-Petchaburi route, said he agreed with the NCPO's move but warned that it did not go far enough. The junta must also wipe out "van mafia gangs", he said, otherwise the same problem would simply crop up again.

The second phase of the plan will add van trips on routes with no public bus services, plus the registration of all vans.

Col Chalermpol said the third phrase would actually amend traffic laws dealing with public passenger vehicles, in order to require all operators use a special licence plate for passenger vans.

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