SAMUT PRAKAN — Taxis at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Monday renewed their calls for higher fares and service fees, citing the rising cost of living.
An airport taxi association director argued the increase is justified because service complaints, long a sticking point to their demands, have improved. In a petition to transportation officials, Sadit Jaitiang said the long-standing problem of picky drivers refusing passengers is now near zero.
“The majority of taxis that operate in the airport have improved the quality of their cars, drivers and quality of service,” Sadit Jaitiang told reporters.
Sadit wants a 5 percent hike in the metered fare and an increase in the 50 baht surcharge imposed on passengers who hail cabs at the international airport. They want it raised to 75 baht for normal cars and 95 baht for van taxis.
Daily costs for running a taxi now stand at about 2,000 baht, Sadit said, breaking the number down to 750 baht for rent, 555 baht for gas, the rest for maintenance and other fees.
Transport minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith could not be reached for comment as of publication time, and the ministry has yet to offer any reply.
Previous pleas for fare increase have been shot down.
One of the taxi drivers who filed similar petitions in the past said he now changed his mind. Jaturong Duangma, a taxi driver in Samut Prakan province, said he was involved in negotiations between cabbies and officials in the previous round of talks, but he later came to believe a fare increase wouldn’t be in the public interest.
“If they want a hike, they should see if they already give good service to customers. Improve that first,” Jaturong said Tuesday.
He added that taxi drivers should learn from competitors like GrabCar and now-defunct Uber, which charge higher fares but have better service reputations.
“[A fare hike] won’t work. Customers wouldn’t respond well to that,” Jaturong said.