It is in the news again that the government is considering to raise the meter rate on taxis. There is a lot of disgruntled taxi drivers out there who say that they are fighting a losing battle with the rising cost of living. They complain that everything around them has been going up apart from the taxi rates and that is not fair. When you get in a taxi the price starts at 35 Baht and this continues for the first kilometer. This then goes up to 5 Baht/kilometer for a distance up to 12 kms, 5.5 Baht/km up to 20 kms, 6 Baht/km up to 40 kms etc. Finally, over 80 kms is 8.5 Baht/km. In addition to this, if the taxi is stuck in a traffic jam and cannot go faster than 6 km/hour, there is an extra fare of 1.5 Baht per minute.
It has been like this for as long as I can remember, and I think it is only fair that that these prices go up. After all, both the fuel and cab rental has gone up a lot but they still make the same amount of money. For example, cab rental has jumped from 250 Baht to between 550 and 650 Baht per shift. The Minister of Transport says they will be looking at adjusting one or all three of the following: the starting rate, the per-kilo rate, and the rate charged during traffic snarl. What do you think, is this a fair thing to do for both driver and passengers? And if they do indeed go ahead with raising the meter rate, will it make it easier to catch a taxi in the future?