Sosehr ich Thaksins HetzblĂ¤ttchen Prachatai auch fĂĽr ihre politische Hetze verdamme,
so bringen auch die manchmal lesenswerte BeitrĂ¤ge wie diesen:
Editorâ€™s note: While expatriates regularly complain about Bangkok's tricky taxi drivers, Bangkokian Thais are facing much worse -- the poor bus services, offered by both the Thai government and private companies. Most of the complaints from passengers direct to the private-run bus lines. The common problems are that buses do not stop at the appointed stops and buses are driven in a frightening manner. From 2011 to 2013 there were 29 road accidents in Bangkok involving buses, with 30 deaths and 100 injuries
The most notorious bus line is the No. 8 Bus which drives through Bangkokâ€™s worst traffic from Bang Kapi in eastern Bangkok to King Rama I Memorial Bridge (Saphan Phut) in central Bangkok. Last June, three people were injured when a speeding No. 8 Bus hit a BTS skytrain pillar. In March 2014, a No. 8 Bus hit and crushed a motorcycle, instantly killing a 13-year-old boy. In 2011, one person was killed and another injured while waiting at a bus stop when a No. 8 Bus was competing with another bus for space to stop at the bus stop.
â€śWe speed for our customers, terrifying all in Ladprao, dashing all the way to King Rama I Memorial Bridge! Running straight ahead like we are fleeing a disaster! Yelling out â€śduckâ€ť to all that we pass! Giving way to every motorcycle! Striking every curve and lane around Victory Monument! Even before the bus stop, the door opens! Rushing crazily to Central Ladprao! Cutting off the police cars! Checkpoint? No need to stop! 8 baht all along the route - if you donâ€™t pay, get the fuck off!,â€ť wrote a dissatisfied customer on social media.
To find out the source of the poor service, the author studied the quality of public transportation services and found that unfair working conditions for drivers and ticket collectors are the main source of poor service.
Patranit Jitsamruay is a third year student in journalism at Silpakorn University. This report, originally published in Thai on Prachatai, is part of her Prachatai 2014 fellowship for youth, and translated into English by Andrew Alan Johnson.
Public transportation is the most common means of travel for the population of Bangkok. According to Bangkokâ€™s Mass Transit Authority (BMTA), around three million people use mass transportation each day. Underneath the BMTA are also a variety of state-run enterprises affiliated with the Ministry of Transportation, arranging motorized transport within Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Pathum Thani, Samut Sakhon and Samut Prakan; altogether 114 routes with 7,253 vehicles, including 3,509 BMTA vehicles and 3,744 private vehicles. But today, the number of vehicles in service is declining. According to the latest BMTA report (June 2014), there were only 5,226 vehicles in service, including 2,526 from the BMTA and 2,700 private.
Outside of the problems of having too few cars in service, traffic accidents also pose a problem. Statistics on cases of traffic accidents from the National Police Headquarters (December 2013) revealed that, within Bangkok, large, public passenger vehicles had 520 accidents between October of 2011 until May of 2013. Data from the Foundation for Consumers identifies 374 incidents, with 512 fatalities and 5,208 injuries. Of these, buses were involved 29 times, with 30 deaths and 100 injuries.
Complaints, as well, are common. Statistics in a 2014 report on bus transportation from the Land Transport Department indicate that the receipt of complaints to the Passenger Control Centerâ€™s emergency 1584 number, there were about 7,029 total complaints. The BMTA received 2,003 of these, up 330 from the previous yearâ€™s total. The complaints received by the BMTA can be grouped into three basic categories: the first being that the bus did not stop at the appointed stop (768 complaints), the second being that the bus was driven in a frightening manner (609 complaints), and the third being that the bus staff were rude (308 complaints). Within the private bus sector, there were 5,029 complaints, up 811 from the previous yearâ€™s total. Within the three categories of complaint, there were 2,161 complaints that the driver drove in a frightening manner, 1,184 complaints that the driver did not stop in the correct place, and 909 complaints that the staff were rude.
Other studies also support these varied kinds of complaints against private buses (both regular and air-conditioned). These complaints (collected between 2010 and 2014) can be divided into five distinct categories, in order, that 1) drivers drove in a frightening manner, 2) the bus did not stop at the appointed stop 3) the staff were rude, 4) passengers were made to exit before the correct stop, and 5) drivers and ticket collectors smoked cigarettes on duty.
Bus Line 8: First in problems
Complaint statistics about problems on private bus lines from 1 October, 2013 until 30 September 2014 (collected from emergency phone line 1384) revealed that, amongst private, regular buses, Bus Line 8 (Bang Kapi â€“ Rama I Memorial Bridge) was amongst the top three bus lines receiving complaints for 11 months and received the most complaints for 10 months. On average, Bus Line 8 received about 20 complaints per month.Wirapong Natapatanapong is a student at Kasetsart University and uses the 8 line regularly. He says that â€śThe condition of the buses are old. You canâ€™t open some of the windows. The driver and the ticket collectors scold the customers and donâ€™t care about them or their safety as much as they should. They drive fast - frighteningly fast. They hit the brakes hard and donâ€™t stop at the bus stops. They donâ€™t close the door of the bus and talk on the phone when they should be on duty â€“ this is a problem that has been going on for a long time. And, regarding the complaint box, the lax manner in which this is done shows the thinking of the operators of Bus Line 8 â€“ some of them you canâ€™t even use, theyâ€™re so battered.â€ť
Using Bus Line 8, the writer noticed a number of issues along the route. For one, Bus Line 8 confronts traffic jams, as the route goes past a lot of important places, like government sites, tourist sites, BTS stations, and subway stations. Additionally, there are a number of issues on the road itself, such as roadside stalls spilling out onto the street, or private cars, taxis, and vans parking on the street, so that it is impossible for the bus to stop at the bus stop.The broadcast on social media of this video, showing drivers and ticket collectors of Bus Line 8 using impolite language and forcing passengers off the bus, was a reason for the Ministry of Transportation to open a special investigation into Bus Line 8. The issue of service problems on Bus Line 8 had already been popular in mainstream media. But this video reinforced the impression that there was a problem with the service along Bus Line 8, along with a popularly-shared image of people packing into the bus until the wheels lifted off of the road, or a case where Bus Line 8 struck and killed a 13-year old bicyclist. In this last case, even though the driver of the bus was not found to be directly responsible, it later emerged that he did not yet have a driverâ€™s license valid for public buses. He had been working only three weeks, and was still in the process of changing his license from an ordinary one to one valid for buses. Normally such a driver wouldnâ€™t be working, but on the weekend there were simply too few drivers.
This case became widely cited, and it led to Bus Line 8 becoming a key point of criticism and investigation from the online community and infamy amongst the general population. But this case in turn led to a greater desire to understand the problematic service conditions of Bus Line 8. With this in mind, this writer interviewed employees of Bus Line 8.
Lacking regular pay, employees of Line 8 lack rely upon commissions from ticket sales
Somchai (pseudonym), a driver of Line 8, reported that the company paid drivers a daily wage of about 100 baht. In addition to this, they were able to keep a 10 per cent commission on ticket sales. Ticket collectors brought home a daily wage of 50 baht in addition to a five per cent commission. On average, Somchai is able to drive the route about four times a day, selling on average 5,000 â€“ 6,000 tickets per day. This amount has fallen in previous years on account of an increase in other buses in service along Line 8â€™s route, especially private and air conditioned buses - AC Bus Line 8 (Romklao Housing â€“ King Rama I Memorial Bridge), normally gets the most passengers.
Congested traffic: Employees of Line 8 work 15 hours a day
Now, Somchai is beginning to fear that he must work on average 15 hours per day. This time is uncertain, as the time that it takes to travel one route differs depending on a number of factors, including: the condition of the traffic on the roads, the condition of the buses (bus drivers and ticket collector cannot choose on which bus they will work), and the time of departure. These all influence the experience of each bus driver and ticket collector and have an influence on how many hours they daily work.
Bearing a heavy burden, employees still try to avoid lashing out at customers in order to avoid complaints.
Somjai (pseudonym), a ticket collector on Bus Line 8, said, â€śI am under a lot of pressure from the recent press on service issues. This has led to new training measures from the Department of Land Transportation as well as criticism directly from passengers. I have to be extremely patient in my work, and am now trying to keep from speaking back to passengers in order to avoid risking a complaint.â€ť
Chatchat Sithiphan, former Minister of Transportation, uploaded pictures and posts onto his own fanpage (Facebook page: Chatchat Sinthiphan), on the 15 August, 2013, when Chatchat was still the Minister of Transportation and after he had learned of the problematic conditions of service along Bus Line 8. Chatchat said that he had invited those business owners overseeing Bus Line 8 to come together to think about how to correct its problems in both the short and long term. He asked if repairs, extra tolls, or more studies might be needed. The group concluded that there was indeed one pressing issue that needed correction: posting the number of the bus in large letters in order that passengers and the general population would be able to see it more clearly, so that they could mark down the number and make more clear complaints about the service. Additionally, the group recommended that the business owners be more strict with their employees, especially in terms of uniforms, manners of the drivers and ticket collectors, and, finally, they installed a complaint box.
Athit Maikaew, a passenger of Bus Line 8, reported that â€śI use the Bus Line 8 service regularly. The service on this line has some good points and some bad points, but it all depends on the behavior of the bus driver and ticket collectorsâ€ť
In order to see better the various conditions, problems, and implications for service on Bus Line 8, the author interviewed employees of other bus lines for comparison, especially those lines that travel along the same route, from Romklao Housing, in Eastern Bangkok, â€“ King Rama I Memorial Bridge.
Nongyao Wangthaphan, 48 years old, is a ticket collector on Air-Conditioned Bus Line 8 and has worked there for six years. She receives a monthly salary from the business and is able to get a commission on tickets according to the rate that the company sets, which means that she has a monthly income as well as a daily one. Drivers and ticket collectors receive about 28,000 baht and 15,000 baht, respectively, each month â€“ a good base salary beneath a good rate of profits so long as one worked hard. Nongyao works on average 10-12 hours per day or more, each hour in the middle of traffic. The company sets very clearly the times for departure and the numbers of trips that the bus makes, and for their part, the vehicles come with GPS and stick to the route strictly.
Krektchai Khongthong, a passenger of Air-Conditioned Bus Line 8, reports that â€śIâ€™m satisfied with the service of AC Bus Line 8. The employees are fairly committed to polite service. I changed to taking AC Bus Line 8 instead of the ordinary Bus Line 8 because of the air conditioning â€“ it makes it easier to travel. The conditions of the cars are better, too, and it makes me feel more confident about safety.â€ť
Aside from those mentioned above, the author interviewed employees of AC Bus Line 29, from Rangsit Center School â€“ Hua Lamphong, a private, air-conditioned bus that has the highest service issues, receiving 1 out of every 3 complaints within the past 11 months.
Phaithun Samniangdi, 42 years old, is an employee of AC Bus Line 29. He worries that being a private bus line employee means a high level of everyday stress. He spends time planning and worrying about each trip himself. As having a lot of passengers means that the amount of money that he is able to bring home also increases, he drives fast and tries to close the intervals between himself and vehicles on the same bus line, or other bus lines who drive the same route, or the free buses (paid for by tax money), all in order to get the most passengers from other vehicles onto his own bus.
With wages not quite 300, daily profits are also cut if drivers do not drive according to the companyâ€™s orders
Pangsi Phonok, 48 years old, is a ticket collector on AC Bus Line 29 and has been a bus employee 20 years. She reported that drivers and ticket collectors on her line donâ€™t have a salary from the company. Instead, they receive a sum of about 300 baht per day, but drivers and ticket collectors have to make at least four rounds each day if they are to get the complete sum. If drivers and ticket collectors are unable to make four rounds, they must cut their profits. For instance, for one round, they will receive 75 baht; for two rounds, 150 baht; and for three rounds, 200 baht. In addition to this 300 baht, they are able to collect a special amount for selling over the number of tickets set by the company. For instance, if they sell 8,000 baht worth of tickets, they are able to claim 100 baht. If they sell 9,500 baht worth of tickets, they can claim 150 baht, and so on. Outside of this, they additionally collect a profit per ticket sales every 15 days or one month. For instance, after employees sell 6,500 baht worth of tickets, the driver can collect four per cent of subsequent sales and the ticket collectors can collect two per cent each. So profits slowly increase with ticket sales â€“ each day they sell approximately 8,500 baht worth of tickets.
Drivers and ticket collectors can make at most five round trips each day. On average these trips last about 3.5 hours each, meaning that employees work on average about 14 hours per day. Normally, drivers and ticket collectors are able to select one particular bus on which to work, something that allows them some degree of control over the conditions of the bus and the ability to choose their fellow co-workers, except when workers are not able to show up to work or when the bus is under repair. Each day, before the bus leaves on its route, bus drivers must inspect the starting condition of the bus themselves.
What we find here is that the difference in the conditions of employment has an effect upon the number of complaints received. A very clear example of this connection was seen when the author interviewed the employees of Bus Line 45 (Samrong, Samut Prakan â€“ Si Phraya Pier) and Bus Line 522 (Rangsit â€“ Victory Monument), one ordinary BMTA bus and one air-conditioned private bus, in order to see the difference between public and private buses in service.
Employee salaries start low, compensation canâ€™t be controlled. The work is hard, many risks
Nawaphon Wangsakul, a bus driver on line 45 (Samrongâ€“ Si Phraya Pier), reports that he came back to work as a BMTA bus driver not long after he quit his private business. The starting monthly income for a bus driver or ticket collector is very low: only 6,080 baht or 4,880 baht, respectively. The starting daily profits are only 50 baht and 20 baht (respectively), and the overtime costs are 30 and 26 baht per hour (respectively). Profits from ticket sales are one and 0.5 satang per ticket, all told amounting to about 13,000 baht per month. Nawaphon works on average about 14 hours per day, completing about three round trips. In ordinary traffic, he takes about three hours per round trip, but if the traffic is congested, he takes up to seven hours per round trip. Thus, between the varied ticket commissions, his daily work, and the constant risk of accident on the highways, he finds the working life as a bus driver as an uncertain one.
Employees of free buses bear a heavy burden of servicing all kinds of passengers
Somphong Sribanthao, 42 years old, is a ticket collector on Bus Line 45. She has worked for the bus company for 17 years, and reports that the drivers and ticket collector on tax-funded buses must meet with all kinds of passengers, including the mentally disabled, the handicapped, and others who cannot help themselves and who come to use the free services. Passengers often ride the bus without getting off, urinating and defecating on the seats. Because of the public nature of these buses, employees are unable to deny them service as private bus employees can.
Employees of the BMTA are afraid that their buses are operating at only 60 per cent effectiveness. Private buses cut them off and compete for passengers. They are not as safe as they should be.
Somphong continued, saying that the conditions of the buses entering public service at present are at about 60 per cent of what they should be, as the buses entering service are over 20 years old. The conditions of the buses are a constant obstacle for employees to face, and these poor conditions create unsafe conditions for the passengers as well. Aside from this, the employees face problems from the private buses, taxis, private cars, and delivery trucks that cut them off in traffic or park at bus stops. This in turn prevents buses from picking up or dropping off passengers at the stop and thus creates problems with complaints from passengers.
Employees of BMTA buses have a regular income, while the employees of private buses do not â€“ a much worse system.
Amnuay Phutthasuwan, 57 years old, is a ticket collector on AC Bus Line 522 (Rangsit â€“ Victory Monument). She reports that her income is about 27,000 baht each month, between salary and a five per cent commission on ticket sales. After she sells 4,500 baht worth of tickets, the commission falls to one per cent (the standard commission in the old system). She works on average 14 hours each day and makes at most 2.5 round trips. For employees in this new system, they get a regular salary along with their daily commission and hourly wage.
Amnuay has been a bus employee for 30 years for the BMTA. She claims that one can see the difference very clearly between the welfare of those working for the BMTA and those working for private bus lines: the BMTA workers are under a governmental system: there is a regular salary, one can have leave from work, health care, family support, and retirement. This differs from employees of private bus lines, who do not have a regular income; who, if they do not work, do not get paid; and most of whose money usually comes from commissions on ticket sales, causing them drive fast in order to get the maximum number of passengers. As all of these factors contribute to an increasingly precarity in labor, causes private bus line employees to work more hours than BMTA workers. All of these factors ultimately contribute to the difference in service between BMTA and private bus lines.
Tut mir leid dass der Text so lang ist, aber ich wollte ihn nicht kĂĽrzen weil er fast alle Probleme
des Busverkehrs in BKK aufzeigt.Fast Alle, wohlgemerkt
! Die wichtigsten Probleme hat die Autorin wegen Thainess
und vielleicht auch Parteilichkeit verdrĂ¤ngt.[ img ]
Dieses Bild zeigt das eigentliche Problem des gesamten Ă–PNV in BKK auf.
Keine Disziplin und nur sich gegenseitig im Weg stehen.
Wobei es lĂ¤ngst nicht ĂĽberall so gemĂĽtlich zugeht wie hier.
Die Linie 8 ist eine der meistbefahrenen Buslinien in BKK und nach meiner Erfahrung
eine der besseren.
Sie fĂĽhrt von Saphan Put (Memorial Bridge) ĂĽber Victory Monument, Central Ladprao
bis Talad Happyland in Bang Kapi praktisch von einem grossen Stau in den nĂ¤chsten.
Insbesondere die lange Lad Prao hinauf wĂ¤re man leicht zu Fuss schneller als mit
dem Auto. Ich hab es versucht musste aber wegen der immensen Luftverschmutzung
durch Abgase aufgeben.
Als ich noch mit der 8 fuhr gab es dort sowohl private als auch BMTA Busse.
Die privaten waren neuer und schneller und der "Service" auch durchaus besser.
Ich bin wohlweislich nie mit den Open Air Bussen gefahren wegen der Luftverschmutzung.
Diese wird durch die Air Condition wenigstens ein wenig gefiltert.
Was die Autorin ĂĽber die Unfreundlichkeit der Fahrer und Schaffnerinnen schreibt
stimmt weitgehend,aber man findet auch nette und auch Fahrer die sehr zivilisiert
Aber man muss die Unfreundlichkeit nicht dem Personal sondern dem Betriebsklima
zuschreiben und damit wieder einmal dem unfĂ¤higen Thai Management!
Auf der Linie 8 als Busfahrer zu fahren ist einer der grĂ¶ssten Sch..ssjobs die man
sich vorstellen kann. Welcher halbwegs normale Mensch macht sowas schon?
Und gemessen daran sind die Fahrer ganz passabel.
Zum Rasen kommen sie nur wĂ¤hrend Songkran wenn BKK leer ist.
Dann ist in der Tat grĂ¶sste Vorsicht geboten, nicht nur auf Linie 8!
Dass die Fahrer und Schaffnerinnnen der BMTA Busse freundlicher wĂ¤ren
kann ich ĂĽberhaupt nicht bestĂ¤tigen, im Gegenteil.
Ja, sie haben einen sicheren Job mit viel mehr Sozialleistungen,
aber sie sind faul, pampig und ĂĽberheblich gegenĂĽber den zahlenden Paxen.
Diese Aussage hat wohl mehr mit der Parteilichkeit von Prachatai
und der Autorin zu tun.Die BMTA ist die "Rote" Bastion Thaksins in BKK.
Aber nicht deshalb gehĂ¶rt sie aufgelĂ¶st, sondern weil sie ihrer Aufgabe
auch mit der neuen Chefin in keinster Weise gerecht wird.
Und einen weiteren Hauptgrund fĂĽr den chaotischen Zustand
an den "Bushaltestellen" hat die Autorin wohl aus Parteilichkeit
Die absolute UntĂ¤tigkeit der Polizei um der Anarchie auf Thailands Strassen
einhalt zu gebieten.
Wer dies selber mal von oben erleben will stelle sich einmal auf die FussgĂ¤ngerbrĂĽcke
vom Panthip Plaza ĂĽber die Phetchburi stadtauswĂ¤rts!
Dort wird 5 spurig gefahren und nur wenige Busse schaffen es in die NĂ¤he
des BĂĽrgersteigs an der Haltestelle.
Dort werden die Paxe von leeren Taxis und Privatautos gejagt wenn der Verkehr mal