Things you only know if you are...a tuk tuk driver

Written by
Gail Piyanan

 ...according to Nikorn Pimdee, 43


Unlike taxis, tuk tuk drivers can’t usually pick up passengers from just anywhere
Tuk tuk fares are often considered expensive. This is because when tuk tuk drivers are hired to go to odd areas like Taopoon or Prachachuen, there’s a small chance we will get customers on the way back. While taxi drivers can drop off a passenger and pick up a new one almost everywhere they go, tuk tuk drivers can do so only where there are potential tuk tuk customers, such as in the Silom area, and around shopping centers, temples and markets.

Waiting at the foot of a BTS station doesn’t help us get customers either.
Eighty percent of BTS passengers would go for a taxi or a motorbike taxi. Thai people don’t like hot weather. Most of my passengers are either street vendors or those who take short rides to have lunch somewhere nearby.

Tuk tuk driver

Sereechai Puttes

You’re welcome to negotiate the tuk tuk fare
Since we have no meters, we won’t know the exact distance from a hailing point to a destination. So we set the price based on what we’re familiar with. The upside is you are always able to negotiate. Sometimes, a problem occurs when passengers don’t first determine the fare and are surprised when they learn how much they need to pay at the destination.

Fares also vary depending on the time and traffic
For example, during the Loy Kra Tong festival, the traffic would be horrendous. It would be unfair for us to get paid forty or fifty baht that you would usually pay on a normal day because
it will take us longer to get to a location and back. Each driver has to pay around B300 to 350 daily for the tub tuk 
rental alone, not to mention gas (approximately B100 per day).

There are as many annoying tourists as bad tuk tuk drivers
There may be a mix of good and bad tuk tuk drivers in Bangkok, but so are tourists. I have had foreign customers who agreed, when I showed them using my hand gestures,
to pay B60 to get to their destination. Despite knowing the price, they only paid me B15. I knew that trying to explain the situation to police officers wouldn’t help because the tourists would be prioritized over me. There was another case where a foreign customer agreed to pay B200 but asked to stop somewhere supposedly for only 10 minutes. However, the stop ended up lasting an hour.

Nikon is a Tuk tuk driver around Wat Phra Kaew Temple Complex

Tuk tuk driver

Sereechai Puttes


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