Thailand bans standing up on songthaews, drivers aren’t happy

Thailand launched a legislation on Friday which requires passengers to sit down when travelling on a songthaew, a preferred form of public transport. However, songthaew drivers say the legislation is detrimental to their livelihoods and are worried it could result in extortion.
A songthaew is a passenger vehicle transformed from a pickup truck with two rows of seats. Songthaews have been used as an affordable type of transport for decades in Thailand, and are sometimes packed out with passengers standing or hanging off the back.
The new law, published in the Royal Gazette, aims to make the songthaew experience safer for everybody involved. But drivers say it’s impractical and uneconomical.
Songthaew drivers spend 800-1000 baht on fuel per day so that they need as many passengers as possible since most journeys cost 8 baht, or slightly extra depending on the province.
A songthaew driver from Bangkok voiced his concerns…
“Normally, there is a rush hour within the morning and evening. Free from Siriraj Pier to Phutthamonthon. The new regulation will make me earn far much less cash as a end result of previously, the Department of Transport ruled that songthaews can seat up to eleven individuals and an extra seven individuals can fit standing.
“Sometimes, in rush hour, there are site visitors jams and far more passengers, which means many more find yourself standing.”
Songthaew drivers also said that the Department of Transport can’t anticipate songthaew drivers to find a way to enforce the new rule since they’re driving and cannot management the variety of passengers hopping in and out of the car.
If drivers cost eight baht per journey – and are allowed only eleven passengers, they’ll make 88 baht per journey only – if the automobile is full that’s.
But most drivers predominantly earn their income within the two busy intervals of the day, with far more than 11 passengers on each journey, so the model new law will cut back their revenue significantly.
Drivers expressed concerns that after the songthaew is full, they would either displease passengers by rejecting them or have to danger breaking the law and being arrested in the occasion that they accepted them.
Some had been apprehensive that police would use the new regulation to extort songthaew drivers..

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