QR codes to be introduced in taxis

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The Government is planning to introduce a QR code system to allow customers to record the details of taxi drivers in Bangkok and also file complaints if required, for example if the meter is not being used when it should be. The plan was announced by the Department of Land Transport at the same time that the Transport Ministry approved a small rise in taxi fares for Bangkok taxis.

The director-general of the Department of Land Transport, Peraphon Thawornsupacharoen, was quoted as saying “When the digital licensing system is completely rolled out, taxi and motorcycle taxi drivers will be required to carry a QR code that passengers could scan on their phones,” adding, “Passengers will be able to view the driver’s basic information, as well as lodge complaints by scanning the QR code.”

As for the rise in taxi fares, these are quite modest. The flag-fall fare of 35 baht is unaffected as is the price below 1 km. For journeys that have a distance of between 1km and 10km, the rate will increase from 6 baht per kilometer to 6.5 baht per kilometer. After 10 km, and up to 90km, the rate remains the same as it was. And after 90km the rate is set at 10.5 baht per kilometer. This increase therefore will mean that for most journeys only a maximum of 5 baht extra is likely.For trips longer than 90km there may also be rises, but often the fares for longer trips are agreed by negotiation so it may not affect everyone.

One rise that will be felt by international travelers is a hike in the airport service charge. Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob was quoted as saying,”The ministry also raised the airport taxi surcharge from 50 baht to 70 baht.”

Still, even so, taxi rates in Thailand remain amongst the lowest in the world.

According to an index compiled by Carspring, Bangkok was the second cheapest place in the world, with only Cairo eking out lower fares. Other cities with low taxi fares included Moscow, Beijing, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.

At the other end of the spectrum, Zurich topped the list with the most expensive taxi fares in the world, which were on average more than 25 times that of Bangkok.

Geneva, Tokyo, London and Berlin rounded out the rest of the top five most expensive cities. London cab rates were on average 16 times more expensive than those in Bangkok.

Most other cities in the middle of the table averaged 10 US Dollars to 12 US Dollars for a 3 km journey, about 3 to 4 times the price of a Bangkok taxi.

With taxis in the many countriesboth scarce and expensive compared to those in Bangkok, taxi apps such as Uber and Grab have becomeindispensible. Using these apps, taxi fares are increasingly being negotiated on line.