A private cab service has begun fielding taxis that advertise that their drivers have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Smart Taxi has installed the first of its LED roof displays letting passengers know they are getting a risk-free ride in the capital. The bilingual signs show in green lettering the words “COVID” and “vaccine” in Thai and English with a checkbox.
A Smart Taxi rep told Coconuts Bangkok this morning that three cabbies so far have come by headquarters to get the signs installed with more on the way.
Witoon Naewpanich, president of the Thai Taxi Network Trade Association, has urged the authorities to prioritize taxi drivers due to their risk of contracting and spreading the disease.
Bangkok’s once-ubiquitous taxis, whose drivers already struggled to make a living before the pandemic, have been devastated in the past year.
Witoon said there are now more than 30,000 registered drivers nationwide, down from around 100,000 prior to the outbreak.
Drivers were in a large crowd that converged this morning on the new Bang Sue Grand Station in northern Bangkok where vaccine jabs were being given to transportation workers. About 5,000 people are expected to be vaccinated per day, with signups posted online.
Smart Taxi, which launched in November in a joint partnership with mobile operator True, uses a ride-hailing app that allows passengers to pay via the TrueMoney Wallet platform. It currently operates 4,500 taxis mostly in the Bangkok metropolitan area with a few servicing outlying travel destinations such as Pattaya.