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Protesting taxis jam Bangkok airport

Posted by Andrew on 26 December 2007, 12:12 am

Passengers arriving at Bangkok’s new Suvarnabhumi airport were greeted with an unwelcoming wait Tuesday as taxis refused to pick anyone up. Sudden changes to the parking and pickup permits prompted about 2,000 taxi drivers to stage a protest at the airport which was eventually dispersed at 3pm.

The protesting drivers gathered at the Public transport Centre after the Airports of Thailand (AOT) suddenly introduced a trial plan that cancelled their permits. They were expected to now park and wait at an off-site facility which is no longer provided free of charge. Getting to and from Bangkok airport

The taxi drivers became furious when the AOT management begun allowing unlicenced taxis in to alleviate the problem, which developed shortly after 8am. AOT has been paying an outsourced company 700,000 baht a month to manage the taxi queuing system, as well as paying 300,000 in upkeep of the parking facility.

At 3pm the standoff finally ended when representatives of AOT agreed that the plan would be suspended and to first consider proposals from the taxi drivers, whom the AOT wants to assume responsibility for managing the queuing system. It claimed to have already consulted a committee who apparently were representing the drivers.

AOT’s management of transportation at the airport has been previously criticised for its lack of transparency and fairness. Their own, grossly overpriced, limousine service is unfairly promoted in the arrivals area, where passengers are warned not take the metered taxis for their own safety, despite having been awarded permits to pick up from the airport. Numerous complaints continue to pour in about the aggressive AOT-approved touts who accost visitors in the arrivals hall offering the limo service. Only recently AOT reluctantly agreed to move the taxi pick up to the ground floor and move their limos to the basement.

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