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PM to invoke Section 44 to tackle public transport problems

In a tough move to resolve traffic fatality rates in public transport service that made Thailand in the second rank of countries with highest road fatalities in the world, the prime minister will invoke Section 44 of the interim constitution to deal with problems in public transport.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said he will invoked Section 44 to reform public transport services to ensure greater safety among vehicles, drivers as well as the provision of rescue and medical equipments in the event of accidents.

The decision came as the Songkran water festival is upcoming next month, and it is this long public holiday period that traffic fatality rate is always high.

Passenger van is among a public transport vehicle that is said to be unsafe and carries high risk of fatalities in case of accident.

Gen Prayut said that the Land Transport Department has been tasked with handling all the details involved.

But he clarified that he had never ordered the cancellation of passenger van services but wanted to see stricter safety protocols enforced to ensure better service and greater conformity to traffic laws.

Instead he said that the proposal to use more minibuses instead of passenger vans was only considered as an alternative to provide better passenger safety.

Meanwhile the cabinet yesterday approved a proposal to raise qualifications standards for public transport drivng licenses in the country.

The main idea is for qualifications to be more difficult while seizure, in the event of defaults, will become easier.

A new requirement is for all drivers to pass a minimum of 15 hours of public transportation education course.

Furthermore in order to renew their licenses, every year they will also be required to pass a minimum of 1 hour instructional course.

Fees for these courses have been set at 6,000 baht per driver.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)