Taxis network offers proposals to transition towards EV vehicles
The Thai Taxi Network Trade Association has submitted five proposals to the Department of Land Transport (DLT) to push for electric taxis.
The association’s president, Witoon Naewpanich, said on Tuesday that he had handed over a letter to DLT director-general Jirut Wisanjit, seeking support for electric taxis after Thailand was affected severely by Covid-19.
The pandemic affected taxi drivers, taxi operators, and taxi cooperatives as the number of customers was reduced significantly due to the lockdowns.
He said the association had asked the DLT to consider the following five proposals:
- Increase the usage duration of taxis to at least 12 years to make investment worthwhile
- Allow varied vehicle sizes to be an alternative for operators and customers
- Set a fare rate to reflect the true cost
- Coordinate with the Energy Ministry and related organisations to support the charging system of electric taxis to be efficient and the charging price to be appropriate to the fare rate
- Publicise the electric taxi project to taxi operators and customers
He said the EV taxi project would reduce pollution, fuel cost, fuel import, and satisfy customers.
Witoon explained that they were affected the most during the middle of 2021, as the number of taxis went down to only 20,000 from 85,000 before the pandemic.
Before the pandemic, each driver earned 2,000 baht on average per day before deducting expenses. However, they earned less than 400 baht during the middle of 2021.
Witoon said that the effect of the pandemic lasted for almost three years and some 10,000 taxis were abandoned on the streets.
After the lockdown was eased, more Thais and foreigners are using taxis, helping them earn on average about 2,000 baht a day before deducting expenses.
He expected the number of taxis in the near future to be around 60,000, which will be not sufficient. He suspected some leftover taxis might not be available, as some of them required maintenance of more than 100,000 baht each.
He said taxi operators were affected by Covid-19 as a result they lack liquidity. Moreover, financial institutions are not lending to them.
He said at least 30,000 taxis must be registered within two years to be sufficient but operators will not register more fossil fuel car taxis.
Witoon said that operators are facing cost problems from cars, parts, and fuels in both NGV and LPG after the sharp increase in price.
He said that the DLT had hired the Thailand Development Research Institute Foundation to conduct research. One research said that taxi operators do not get enough income even if they work more than 12 hours per day.
Without increasing the fare rate, they will earn enough if all costs could be reduced, so he agreed to push for electric taxis.
However, it required cooperation from several government agencies, including the DLT to make the project successful.
Witoon said, “The DLT should take this opportunity in planning a taxi system for the future to be efficient in car size and usage duration to become a motivation for operators to invest in electric taxi systems.”