11 July 2024

Operators of passenger vans, offering services between Bangkok and its suburbs, have asked the government to negotiate with financial institutions to grant them a debt moratorium, of three to six months, because they cannot afford their monthly instalments.

Mr. Panya Lertngim, president of the Passenger Van Operators Association, said this morning (Tuesday) that he and other association members will submit a petition today, addressed to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, seeking his help in easing the financial burden of about 24,000 baht per month, which they are contracted to pay to leasing companies.

He claimed that a passenger van operator now earns an average of 100-200 baht per day, because there are hardly any passengers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that many passengers have switched to the Green Line electric train service, between Mo Chit and Khoo Khot via Saphan Mai, which has been operating a trial run free of charge.

Panya said that about 100,000 passengers normally use passenger vans per day, but the numbers dropped substantially during the first COVID-19 outbreak last year, gradually recovering to about 60,000 a day until late December, when the second outbreak hit and the average passenger loads dropped to just 1,000 a day.

There are between 2,500 and 3,000 vans operating between Bangkok and its suburbs each day, in association with the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority, the sole operator of city bus services.

Without government help, he warned that many operators might have to return their vehicles to the leasing companies or let them be repossessed.