Pattaya taxi drivers have officially asked the military to dramatically raise fares in exchange for their cooperation in using meters.

The Pattaya and Bothong taxi cooperatives and Pattaya Beach Taxi announced July 25 they would propose that base fares for metered cabs be raised from the current 30 baht to 100 baht for trips of two kilometers or less.

Even more drastically, the taxi union wants to charge 20 baht per kilometer for the third kilometer onward. That would be an increase of 500 percent from the current six baht per kilometer for kilometers 3-10, and 10 baht for each kilometer afterward.

The proposal comes in response to the army’s renewed threat to crackdown on drivers not using meters. But cabbies brazenly have told army officials they won’t use meters because the fares are too low.

Drivers must compete with 10-baht songthaews and, because of the small size of Pattaya, most trips are under two kilometers. So cabbies try to negotiate fares, quoting rates of 300 baht from Central Festival Pattaya Beach to the Pattaya Bus Station when the legal fare is 60 baht.

Cabbies were told to report to an August 1 meeting where the law would be laid down, and drivers given a chance to suggest a compromise.

The taxi unions say that if the military gives them what they want, drivers will use meters.

Fares, however, are difficult and complicated to raise, requiring public notice and signoff by the Transport Ministry and even the Prime Minister’s Office.

Repeated attempts by Bangkok cabbies to raise the base fare from the current 35 baht have all failed, with the Prime Minister’s Office saying higher rates would place an undue burden on the public.

Source: Pattaya Mail