Monday, 30 January 2017

1/30/2017 02:31:00 pm
Many foreigners are, simply by design, larger than Thais and 80 kilograms is actually a standard, or even slim, size for many foreign men. 

So, does this create a racism issue or dual-pricing scenario? 

A driver pointing to the spot where the contentious sign hung before being removed.

Thai Twitter was in a tizzy over the weekend when user Ychalermthai posted a photo of a sign he saw at the busy motorcycle taxi stand. 

The sign stated that overweight people need to pay a surcharge to get a ride.

An extra 5 Baht for riders over 80 kilograms and an extra 10 Baht for those over 100 kilograms.

It’s assumed that the reasoning for such a charge is that a larger passenger causes more wear and tear on the bike as well as making it harder for the driver to maneuver, making the risk of an accident higher.

However, no answer about the charge could be gotten from the drivers since the sign quickly came down and the drivers claimed they had no idea how it had gotten there. 

A statement that’s pretty hard to believe since they hang out there all day looking at that wall.

The reason that the drivers staunchly denied knowledge of the sign or policy is assumed to be because motorcycle taxi drivers work in a regulated industry that, by law, is supposed to charge fixed rates, though haven’t we all been overcharged at some point or other?

Photo of the offensive sign.
Though these hucksters do sometimes seem to charge whatever number pops into their head on a given day, I’ve paid anywhere from 80 Baht to 160 Baht to go from Phra Kanong to Asoke on a bike,  they aren’t supposed to do that and they certainly aren’t allowed to post signs denoting random new surcharges without the approval of their governing body.

The pictures of the sign were widely discussed on Twitter but most commenters were highly critical of the idea for being both opportunistic and unfair as well as illegal.

The drivers at the stand later said that they don’t charge overweight customers more but that sometimes those riders pay more voluntarily since they realize that they create more strain on the bike and that more fuel is needed to ferry them.

This marks the first time that this issue has been widely discussed and brings up lots of other thoughts on motorcycle taxi charges.

For example, you can’t always tell how much people weigh by looking at them and it’s doubtful that any motorcycle stand would have a scale to determine the rider’s weight. Therefore, this sort of policy could become subjective.

Some people may argue that overweight riders can control their weight, while the overweight riders themselves may agree or disagree. But tall, or otherwise large but not overweight, riders can do nothing about their large or tall body shape that supports more weight due to a larger, longer skeleton.

If a surcharge were imposed on heavier riders than one should also be imposed on those riders we’ve all seen squeezing onto a bike with luggage, shopping or other baggage as they also create additional stress on the bike and, perhaps, on the driver too.

To play devil’s advocate, if overweight riders need to pay extra for service, should petite riders get a discount?

Another issue that is becoming more common in the city is overweight motorcycle taxi drivers. 

I’ve jumped on bikes this year where the driver was so large, there was barely room for me. Should these drivers be banned from their profession or charge passengers less since they get less space?

As both riders and drivers increase in weight, it’s doubtful that we’ve heard the last of this sizable issue.

Source: Sanook

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