Though the most recent transport survey found most passengers were satisfied with the services, “other people continue to make complaints through mass and social media,” said Deputy Transport Minister Ormsin Chivapruck, insisting officials need to consider more information before approving the increase.
The information includes fuel costs, drivers’ incomes, the impact of higher fares on passengers and taxi service quality, which is a key criterion for the approval.
The Land Transport Department set a condition where 70% of passengers interviewed must be happy with the services if the new rate is to take effect.
Taxi drivers, who have requested the fare hike since earlier this year, were in a jubilant mood when they saw the 71% approval rate revealed by a survey of taxi customers in Bangkok and neighbouring provinces as well as customers at Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports.
But ongoing complaints have prompted the department to carefully consider “whether the sample group is reliable and whether their size is enough to be a deciding factor”, Mr Ormsin said.
Department chief Sanit Phromwong said earlier the numbers in the survey are raw data. He expects his department will finish analysing all information concerning people's satisfaction with taxi services next year.
A policy to increase taxi fares had been initiated during the term of former transport minister ACM Prajin Juntong. The ministry wanted to increase the fare rate by 13% but divided the hike into two phases – an initial 8% rise which took effect in December last year and another 5% to be granted after improvement in taxi services.
For passengers, the delay in the 5% rise is good news. Company employee Kanokwan Kanphu, who regularly uses taxis, said a rapid fare increase will not only hurt low-income earners but it may also encourage some people to buy cars as petrol prices are currently low.
That would add to congestion on the roads.
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