Bangkok’s ‘smart taxis’ now advertise vaccinated drivers

A private taxi service has started sending taxis announcing that their drivers have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Smart Taxi installed the first of its LED screens on the roof to inform passengers that they are making a safe journey in the capital. The bilingual signs show in green letters the words “COVID” and “vaccine” in Thai and English with a checkbox.

A representative of Smart Taxi said Coconut Bangkok this morning, three taxi drivers have so far come to headquarters to have the signs installed and others on the way.

Witoon Naewpanich, chairman of the Thai Taxi Network Trade Association, urged authorities to prioritize taxi drivers because of their risk of contracting and spreading the disease.

Bangkok’s once ubiquitous taxis, whose drivers already struggled to make a living before the pandemic, were devastated last year.

Witoon said there were now more than 30,000 registered drivers nationwide, up from around 100,000 before the outbreak.

Drivers were in a large crowd that converged this morning at the new Bang Sue Grand station in northern Bangkok, where vaccines were administered to transport workers. About 5,000 people are expected to be vaccinated per day, with registrations published online.

Public transport workers Monday morning at Bang Sue Grand station line up for vaccines. Photo: Smart Taxi, Ltd.

Smart Taxi, which launched in November as part of a partnership with mobile operator True, uses a ridesharing app that allows passengers to pay through the TrueMoney Wallet platform. It currently operates 4,500 taxis, primarily in the Bangkok metropolitan area, with a few outlying travel destinations such as Pattaya.

Read more stories from Coconuts Bangkok here.

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