Hundreds of mini vans commuting between Bangkok and the rest of the country have been banned since the start of the month if being older than ten years. This represents 25% of all vans in circulation.
The ban was introduced in early October and is deemed to help strengthening the safety of travellers. The ban concerns all public vans older than 10 years. But the disappearance of a quarter of all public vans is creating a void as the demand for transportation remains constant. In the first days, Bangkok’s main public van stations, such as Muang Thong Thani and Victory Monument, reported longer queues of waiting commuters. Victory Monument is the largest station and the place where the most vans were decommissioned. Some 260 vans operating 11 routes from Victory Monument have been stopped this month, the highest number out of all the routes being terminated.
As a temporary measure, the Department of Land Transport (DLT) has deployed 65 buses to provide services to commuters at van stations such as Chatuchak, Future Park Rangsit, Muang Thong Thani, Min Buri and Victory Monument, among others. “In addition to the buses, we have instructed van operators to increase their rounds, something which they have gladly agreed to do,” explained Peraphon Thawornsupacharoen, acting director of the DLT when talking to the Bangkok Post.
According to the DLT, there are over 12,700 registered vans now in operation around Thailand. Some 248 vans countrywide have been decommissioned so far, and over 1,500 are set to be retired by year end. The department says the last of the public vans will be decommissioned by 2028. ”
Van operators have expressed their anger against the government. Operators complain that they cannot afford to buy brand new minibuses. They have asked for a compromise whereby renewals are granted on a case-by-case basis for vans that are well maintained. Van operators who refuse to comply face a 100,000 Baht fine and/or five years of jail.
(Source: Bangkok Post)