Wed, September 3, 2014
By Khaosod English
16 September 2013, Last upated at 18:04 GMT
Transport Ministry Considering Taxi CCTVs

(16 September) Minister of Transport Chatchart Sitthipan said he is planning to equip close circuit cameras inside taxis to reduce crimes and address the problems of drivers refusing services to passengers.

Mr. Chatchart said the CCTV installation will promote safer taxi services, as it allows the authorities to monitor bahaviours of both the drivers and the passengers inside the cab, including incidents of drivers refusing to take passengers.

Many Thais have complained of taxi drivers in certain parts of Bangkok refusing services to the them, preferring to pick up foreigners and charging them extortive fares.

According to Mr. Chatchart, the CCTV project is cost-effective, noting “the camera is no longer expensive, and the taxi drivers should be able to afford the equipment.”

The Minister also mentioned the previous GPS-attachment plan, which the Department of Land Transport (DLT) previously proposed, explaining that it would be a good idea but is rather too expensive.

He also suggested that the taxi rental companies should be held responsible if their drivers refused services to passengers.

Mr. Atchsathai Rattanadilok Na Phuket, Deputy Director - General for Operation of DLT, said that the Department is expecting to draft a law that prohibits such refusal which will also hold the taxi companies accountable for their drivers′ violations. The law is set to be completed in 3 months.

According to the Deputy Director, punishments include forfeiting the right to renew or withdraw registration plate.

Moreover, the department is also trying to add a list of taxi drivers and their registered company into the department’s database, in order to be able to check and keep track of the drivers. The idea is hoping to facilitate the police investigations, if the drivers had violated the law, or caused harm to their passengers.

However, Mr. Jiruth Wisaljit, Deputy Director-General for Administration, said that the department still keeps the idea of attaching GPS to the taxis, as it should help in reducing crimes in Bangkok metropolis and suburb areas.

In the first stage, according to Mr. Jiruth, the DLT might encourage individual taxi drivers to equip the GPS to their private cab, before gradually pushing the attachment in rental taxis later.