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The mission to bring order to the transport services stems from public complaints about overly expensive fares and vehicles blocking traffic flows. The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is responding as part of its "return happiness to Thai people" policy.
A source in the Army's operative team said operators of motorcycle taxis, van and taxi services had raised issues of their own too, including: demands on them for "protection fees", their requests for more relaxed traffic laws, and illegal motorcycle-taxi stands.
Besides urgently summoning transport operators to talk at length, the Army will join police in bringing order to traffic-law enforcement, the source said. A four-party committee comprising transport-service operators, Army personnel, police and the Land Transport Department will be set up to compile problem-solving recommendations to the NCPO-assigned working committee, the source said.
In a second phase, a to-be-established national legislative assembly, would amend transport-related laws, the source added.
The four-party committee would also discuss legal points and initially tackle fare rates, the traffic-law problems of taxi drivers, and the fee-demand practices of extortionists they called "influential figures". Army officers in respective areas would supervise the tackling of these issues, the source added.
Responsible Army units - especially in the problematic areas - have gathered much information already, according to Theerachai's instructions, the source said.
"Many units had reported details about who runs which taxi stands. The area commanders will invite the operators in question to talk at length."
Besides urging operators to observe traffic laws, the area commanders would look into why fares had been raised. Any new price rates should be according to law.
Taxi Motorcyclists' Association chairman Chalerm Changthongmadan said he had provided information on June 9 Monday to the Army about profit-involved parties and other related issues. He claimed only 150,000 of the 200,000 motorcycle-taxi stands were legal.
He said the so-called "influential figures" had survived previous crackdowns and ran these new ones to cheat customers. If their actions were disputed they would threaten or assault legitimate operators. He said taxi motorcyclists from these illegal stands usually overcharged passengers.
Chalerm asked the Army to act against illegal operators; to deal with taxi motorcyclists who made their vests without permission and split rent money with influential figures and crooked officials; and to reduce the time for background checks for public-transport licences to one month, instead of three.
The taxi motorcyclists wear the vests with a number to identify themselves and their stands. Each vest concession fee can range from Bt30,000 up to Bt100,000, depending on the location and number of passengers.
Besides the profitable taxi-motorcyclist vests, many stands also charged a motorcycle-rental fee worth hundreds to thousands of baht a month - some of which is reportedly paid as "protection fees" to officials.
The "fee" collecting was confirmed by a source at a state agency team working to counter extortionists, who said a small motorcycle-taxi stand paid Bt2,000-Bt3,000 a month - while a large one paid Bt5,000-Bt6,000. The operators formed an association to complain about such "fees" but were threatened with stricter law enforcement, intended to pressure them to continue paying the fees, the source said.
Public transport vans have their "fees", too. A small stand paid Bt15,000-Bt20,000 a month while a larger one Bt30,000-Bt100,000 - and operators had to pay an extra amount at both ends of the journey, the source said.
There were also along-the-way fees paid in thousands of baht.
Such payments were collected by uniformed figures, hence the operators had to collect the money from their van drivers.
These figures could control the number of vans using a route, too, he added.
Es ist viel zu schoen um wahr zu sein!
Wer wie ich in den letzten 9 Jahren ausfuehrlich den Betrug
und die Erpressung im oeffentlichen Personenverkehr miterlebt
hat, kann nicht glauben dass die einzig genuine Thai Business Idee
des Mitkassierens ohne eigene Leistung ploetzlich effektiv bekaempft werden soll!
Ich habe dies auch erstmals so deutlich in ein Thai Zeitung
Deshalb habe ich den ganzen Artikel aus der Nation hier reinkopiert.
Tatsache ist dass aufgrund Lug und Betruges die Nutzer teilweise
ueberhoehte Preise bezahlen muessen, aber dass viel gravierender
die Transportsicherheit erheblich gefaehrdet wird da es uebehaupt
keine wirkungsvollen Kontrollen mehr gibt.
Sollte es der Junta gelingen diesen Sektor zu saeubern waere
dies ein grosser Erfolg welcher viel Zustimmung in der Bevoelkerung
Natuerlich nicht bei denen die mitkassieren!