Passenger van operators seek leniency from PM

Public passenger van operators have called on the prime minister to relax the renewed regulations mandating them to reduce passenger seats from the current 15 to 13 effective eary next month.

The call was made after the Department of Land Transport issued new regulations governing passenger van service, a pool bus service of the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA), in response to the prime minister's order to tackle high traffic accidents resulted from public transportation.

Passenger van service is public transportation mode that was blamed for high fatality rates in road traffic accidents. Overcrowded passengers in the van is considered to pose high risk of death as it leaves no space for passengers to flee from the crowded van in case of accident and fire.

The reduction of seats is a safety measure to reduce fatality rates. The prime minister ordered these safety measures must be employed ahead of the upcoming Songkran water festival.

In yesterday's call, the public passenger van operators wanted that the new regulations be enforced only after their existing service contracts with the BMTA expire.

They said the reduction of seats will mean less earnings for them, while another regulation mandating the installation of GPS devices by the end of this month have high costs.

They also said GPS device to monitor their driving speed is not effective as the present traffic jam in the capital has already curbed them from speed driving.

In addition, they said fastening seat belts should be considered personal responsibility of each passenger and they should not be held responsible or fined if passenger do not fasten seat belts.

Besides seat belt fastening notice are also pasted inside the van, they said.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)