Land Transport Dept Told to Launch New Taxi-Hailing App by End of Year or Else

Transport Ministry

Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob has given the Land Transport Department an ultimatum to launch a taxi-hailing mobile application and a traffic point deduction system before the year’s end.

If the department fails to make these two programmes happen by the end of the year, there will be no guarantee the department chief will still have his job, the minister said.

Personal car owners will be allowed to legally take passengers and charge them for the service when the department launches the anticipated taxi-hailing app, he said.

In the traffic point deduction programme, car and motorcycle drivers who lose all 100 traffic points in traffic rule violations will have their driving licences suspended for one year and will have to apply for a new driving licence after that, he said.

Department director-general Chirute Visalachitra said the amendment of the 1979 Act on cars is required before the department can launch the app and this process will take time.

The department is still studying how to regulate the licensing of personal motor vehicle owners who want to offer a taxi service on the app, he said.

While waiting for the implementation of the app, the department has launched a central taxi-hailing app called “Taxi OK”, in use by some 9,000 licensed taxi drivers.

Many of these taxi drivers, however, had called for an end to the hailing app programme as they will have to shoulder the costs of installing a GPS tracking device, which will be especially difficult in the COVID-19 climate where the number of passengers has decreased, said Mr Visalachitra.

The department is also looking into a proposal that requires people holding a permanent driving licence aged above 70 years to take a test to determine their ability to drive safely, said Mr Chidchob.