THE bustling streets of Bangkok city will see smaller numbers of its iconic auto rickshaws, or “tuk-tuks”, as the government is planning to trim their “excessive” presence on the roads.
The authorities have learned that the numbers have swelled to over 9,000 tuk-tuks in operation, prompting its Land and Transport Department to take on a “birth control” measure.
The department’s Director General, Sanit Phromsathit, said the numbers posed a challenge for supervision of operations.
According to the Bangkok Post, the department plans to freeze new registrations, but this excludes those under a special scheme to promote the driving career and use of cleaner energy.
The culling is also part of an effort to make inspection procedures more efficient and ensure compliance with safety standards.
Generally, the authorities do not receive as many complaints on tuk-tuks as opposed to metered taxis.
Sanit said most rickshaw passengers were concerned about speeding among drivers, which exposes them to the risk of being flung out of the three-wheeled vehicles.
A new regulation introduced last year made it compulsory for the installation of steel structures on tuk-tuks as an added safety feature, while additional modifications would also be aimed at preventing the vehicles from tipping over.
“(This is to) keep tuk-tuks in order and make sure passengers can travel safely,” he was quoted saying.
However, Sanit said there were currently no plans to standardize fare rates.