The Thai Public Taxi Association is taking bold strides towards a greener and more sustainable industry by lobbying the nation’s transport minister for a beneficial package designed to aid taxi drivers in transitioning to electric vehicles (EVs). Spearheading the campaign is the association chairman, Sadit Jaitiang, who has underscored the urgency of the matter which will be discussed in an imperative meeting scheduled for the coming Friday. Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit is expected to be present to offer solutions on pressing concerns impacting the welfare of taxi drivers.
Commending the adoption of EVs by the taxi industry, Sadit stressed that such a move would notably mitigate carbon emissions and dust pollution in Thailand’s bustling capital, Bangkok. To quicken this transition and make it more appealing, the association proposes a scheme that consists of tax reductions and subsidies, such as a hefty 300,000 baht subsidy for each EV unit.
Although the move towards cleaner transportation is noble, it comes at a time when taxi drivers are grappling with crippling financial losses brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. Sadit shared the association’s worry that a transition to EVs without the suggested incentives could exacerbate the drivers’ economic hardships, as reported in the Bangkok Post.
Highlighting the immediate need, he further divulged that approximately 20,000 traditional taxis are on the brink of retirement, reaching their operational lifespan of 12 years – an ideal time to incorporate electric taxis into the fleet. For a smooth transition, Sadit advocates for approximately 10,000 EV units to serve as initial replacements for these retiring vehicles.
Owing to their superior performance and efficiency, 90- and 120-kilowatt models of EVs have been identified as preferred options by the Association. Additionally, it has proposed that the SME Development Bank should facilitate this transition by offering low-interest loans to taxi drivers for purchasing these electric vehicles.
There are multiple items on the agenda for the meeting with the minister. Top of the list includes setting up a committee to reassess new fare rates and a strategy for taxi driver registration with ride-hailing apps. Another significant concern yet to be addressed is the proposed construction of a car park for taxis at Suvarnabhumi Airport. Granted approval in 2019, the project’s progress has been stalled, and hence will be worth discussing at the forthcoming meeting. Additionally, the Association intends to demand the installation of a roof at the taxi waiting area at the airport.
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