Motorsai slam plan to lift driver limit

Motorcycle taxi drivers yesterday questioned the National Council for Peace and Order's (NCPO) plan to lift the limit on licensed drivers, saying the move would lead to an oversupply of taxis.

A motorcycle taxi driver at a station in the Ekamai area said there were already more than enough drivers.

His station alone has 25 drivers.

“Where will they be stationed once they are registered?” he said.

The drivers voiced their concern in response to the NCPO’s plan to regulate their services in a bid to curb illegal drivers.

The new system introduced by the junta, allows for an unlimited number of registered vests.

The new system will transfer administrative duties from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to the Land Transport Department (LTD).

A motorcycle taxi driver based in the Thong Lor area, who also asked not to be named, said a clean-up of the motorcycle taxi business was long overdue.

The NCPO's plan is likely to work, he said.

Only unregistered drivers rely on the mafia for protection, he said.

If everyone is legally registered under the new system, no drivers will need to look for such protection, he said.

A second driver — who pays a 200-baht protection fee each month — said the mafia would only help with trivial issues like fines for traffic violations.

“But they disappear when we get into trouble with the police over accidents,” he said.

The driver said he was ready to comply with the traffic rules, if the new system is introduced and the mafia can be eliminated.

Meanwhile, the orange-coloured motorcycle taxi vest worn by city drivers will remain in use, LTD chief Asdsathai Rattanadilok Na Phuket said.

The department and 1st Division commander Maj Gen Apirat Kongsompong, who was assigned by the NCPO to oversee the regulations on motorcycle taxi services, reached the decision yesterday.

Earlier the junta opted for green vests, but then decided against them.

Luminous green strips will be attached to the front and the back of vests, said Mr Asdsathai.

Maj Gen Apirat said the names of drivers will be shown on the back of vests.

The luminous green strips will bear the names of the motorcycle taxi queues and their districts, he added.

The 1st Division and the Justice Ministry's Rights and Liberties Protection Department yesterday held a seminar for motorcycle taxi drivers to boost their understanding of the NCPO's move to regulate them.

Maj Gen Apirat said motorcycle taxi drivers must register by tomorrow and authorities will check up on them at a later date.

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