Bangkok motorcycle taxis go 'green'

The military has decided to change the look of Bangkok motorcycle taxi drivers by giving them free jackets coloured green and getting rid of the orange vests that are sold to them at extortionate prices by taxi mafia.

The move is part of the efforts of the military junta to bring order to motorcycle taxi services and reduce the cost of fares, said Maj Gen Apirat Kongsompong, commander of the 1st Division, King's Guard.

He said on Sunday the orange jackets can cost taxi motorcyclists hundreds of thousands of baht each at certain high-service locations.

The new green jackets will be made available to taxi motorcyclists cost-free when they register with the Department of Land Transport and agree to comply with traffic laws, Maj Gen Apirat said.

"Expensive motorcycle taxi jackets are synonymous with bribery. As they cost a huge amount, the buyers must charge higher fare rates," Maj Gen Apirat said.

He said the limited number of orange jackets also contributed to the high price. Therefore the National Council for Peace and Order decided the Department of Land Transport would open a register of taxi motorcyclists and give them green jackets.

Maj Gen Apirat denied that a liberal approach to registration would cause an over-supply of taxi motorcyclists. He said the number of commuters in the different areas would automatically control the number of taxi motorcyclists. 

He dismissed any connection with the green colour to military fatigues. He said scientifically, orange and green were clearly visible to motorists. The jackets would be a reflective light green and different from the Army's green colour.

The new jackets will bear the logo of the Department of Land Transport, replace the logo of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration on the orange vests, Maj Gen Apirat said.

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