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Cab Drivers in Thailand Could Now Face Bt5000 Fine for Rejecting Fares

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BANGKOK – Thailand’s Land Transport Department has announced plans to raise the fine for taxi drivers who reject passengers from 2,000 baht to 5,000 baht, despite taxi drivers’ association insisting it’s sometimes necessary to turn away a fare.

Deputy director-general Thanee Suebrerk said on Monday the Land Transport Department had proposed the merger of car and land transport laws and that the amendment bill include an increase of the maximum fine from 2,000 baht to 5,000 baht for taxi drivers who reject passengers.

The increase is aimed at lifting the penalties for taxi drivers committing offenses to the same level as those imposed on other public transport, such as passenger buses and vans, he said.

Taxis refusing to accept a fare is the most frequent complaint filed with the hotline number 1584 of the Land Transport Department.

However, Withoon Naewpanit, head of a network of taxi drivers in Bangkok, said cabbies sometimes have to reject passengers who want to go on routes where there are no other fares, or who want to make several stopovers. He said cab drivers earn low incomes and fares have been frozen for a long time.