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All taxis to be fitted with cameras, tracking devices, panic buttons

The Department of Land Transport is making big promises in its bid to tackle Uber.

By Choltanutkun Tun-atiruj | Apr 28, 2017

  • All taxis to be fitted with cameras, tracking devices, panic buttons
    Credit: Johnny Lai

The Department of Land Transport hosted a seminar last week to discuss the installation of tracking devices and cameras alongside with an emergency button in all taxis in Bangkok. The tracking devices will be linked to the taxi department management center and the Taxi OK application. The app will also come with an option to prevent taxi drivers from refusing service to passengers. The installation would cost around B20,000 per taxi.

In related news, on Apr 25, a Brazillian woman was raped by a taxi driver before being abandoned in the middle of rice fields in Suphanburi province. That taxi driver had previously been arrested twice for rape. Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan ordered the police and the Ministry of Transport to be more strict with background-checking of all drivers. He has assigned the police and the Ministry of Land Transport to discuss this with all taxi companies and cooperatives.

This comes amid the Department of Land Transport's push for a crackdown on Uber, the global ride-sharing app which operates in Thailand despite being illegal. The DLT argues that unlicensed drivers are unsafe for users. Users have been pushing back, arguing that taxis are the unsafe option, as they lack tracking devices and drivers don't always match the license displayed on the taxis' dashboard. Taxis also often refuse to take passengers to their desired destination. In March, the DLT collaborated with police to nab and fine dozens of Uber drivers.

While GrabTaxi and Uber continue to operate, GrabTaxi did suspend its mototcycle taxi service.

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